Friday, May 29, 2009

Our Bums

Ken Dixon, a reporter and blogger with the Connecticut Post, realized after he had assembled a transcript of a media opportunity with President Pro Tem of the state Senate Don Williams that he had a mini- Marx Brothers movie in hand.

Reporters were asking Williams about what Dixon called “the bicameral ethics of the state senate,” controlled these many years by fastidious Democrats.

The State Elections Enforcement Commission had just penalized Sen. Joe Crisco, D-Woodbridge, $4,000 for having signed the names of his campaign officials on documents he had used to apply for up to $85,000 in taxpayer funded campaign cash, often called forgery. And the reporters in the room were just curious: Could Williams please put the DeLuca case in context with the Crisco case?

Lou DeLuca, at the time a leading Republican with a sterling record, was drummed out of the senate after an FBI agent got him to agree in a conversation that he would be willing to accept the services of the agent, then pretending to be an associate of a reputed mob influenced trash hauler. The agent said he would be delighted to take care of the senator’s son-in-law, whom the senator believed had roughed up his granddaughter.

When DeLuca, once the highest ranking member of the Republican caucus, mentioned a previous ordeal of Sen. Tom Gaffey, the second Democrat recently fined for ethics violations, Williams, in high dungeon, responded, “For Lou DeLuca to have brought this up is an outrage. For somebody who was investigated by the FBI, the chief state's attorney's office, and but for the fact that law enforcement was able to break up the hit that he ordered on a relative, he would be in jail. For him to start talking about Tom Gaffey, who broke no law … we're talking about two different universes."

Derek Slap, Williams’ spokesperson, commented "It is sad, considering the difficult times facing Connecticut and its families, that the leader of the Republican Party [Party Chairman Chris Healy] and a disgraced former senator would waste everybody's time slinging mud. We're focused on working with Governor Rell to solve the budget crisis."

At the recent news availability, according to the transcript made by Dixon, a reporter asked Williams, “What is going to happen in the Joe Crisco case?

“Williams: I don’t foresee other action being taken over and above the very thorough and lengthy investigation that was conducted by Elections Enforcement.

“Reporter B: They said he signed falsely several times for other people on sworn documents and stood there while they were notarized. And they didn’t use the word forgery. That’s the word (State GOP Chairman) Chris Healy used. But how is that not forgery in your mind?

“Williams: You know, from my understanding, from what I’ve been told, they did not find… they didn’t have a finding against Sen. Crisco in terms of unlawful behavior…

“Reporter B: That’s not true.

“Williams: Is that not true?

“Reporter B: They said he violated the campaign laws.

“Reporter C: Numerous state laws.

“Reporter B: Numerous times, yeah.”


Sen. Crisco, who had committed forgery on notarized documents, was fined $4,000 and forced to forfeit $85,000 in public funds spent on a campaign he won. Sen. Gaffey was fined $6,000 for double billing the state and his political action committee for the same travel expenses.

Williams should revisit the DeLuca controversy and begin to treat his bums the way he was disposed to treat his political opposition’s bums.

Gaffey already has had at least two bites of the apple, and Crisco should be prosecuted for forgery.

One major newspaper has called for the prosecution of Crisco by Connecticut's chief state's attorney. Williams should be in the vanguard of those demanding that Crisco be relieved of his usufructs and his office. Connecticut’s media should boisterously insist upon it. And if Williams fails to clean his own Augean stables, he also should be given the heave-ho.

There should be no room in Connecticut politics for legislative leaders who conspire in ethical violations by protecting their own bums from a fate they so richly deserve.
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