The Donovan sting, now referred to by Tom Dudchik of Capitol Report as “Speakergate,” continues to froth.
CC-1 (Co-Conspirator 1), the FBI canary who helped to turn the tables on Robert Braddock, the former finance director of Speaker of the State House Chris Donovan’s U.S. House bid, has now been identified as Ray Soucy, a correctional industries supervisor at the Cheshire prison complex, according to a Hartford Courant story.
Just before Mr. Donovan was about to be pummeled over the weekend by Connecticut’s media, the Speaker, who has rejected calls that he quit the state House and terminate his campaign for the U.S. House in Connecticut’s 5th District, fired Mr. Braddock and hired Tom Swan, the director of the left of center Connecticut Citizen Action Group, to replace his former campaign manager, who was also fired.
Even as Mr. Swan stepped before the Media to say he had looked Mr. Donovan squarely in the eye and asked him point blank whether he was in any way connected with this sordid “Speakergate” business, the media in the crowd were growing restive.
Where was Donovan? Why do we have to endure this flack?
Mr. Swan assured everyone that Mr. Donovan was innocent and unblemished:
“I want to start off and say unequivocally, Chris did nothing wrong, and if I thought for one second there was a question about that, I wouldn’t be standing here today. I have a beautiful, 15-month-old daughter that I’d much rather be hanging out [with] than talking with all of you wonderful people here today.“When I sat down with him, and I’ve known Chris for 18 years now and worked very closely with him, I looked him right in the eye and I said, ‘Is there any truth to this and did you do anything wrong?’ And he looked me in the eye, and he said no. I agreed to take over this campaign because in my 18 years in this state, nobody has done more to clean up corruption and fight to protect democracy and working families than Chris Donovan.”
Mr. Swan said Mr. Donovan was sometimes disappointed, other times angry and more than anxious to get to the bottom of this mess – preferably, one supposes, before his campaign for the U.S. House disappears in a puff of media smoke. Surely, Mr. Donovan would not lie to his old friend Mr. Swan.
“In the fight of his political life, Chris Donovan blew what could be his last chance” one commentator wrote. “The House Speaker and 5th District Congressional candidate embroiled in an ugly campaign scandal should have stepped up to the podium Friday afternoon and declared that he had been betrayed by trusted staff members. He had a shining chance to declare not only did he know nothing about the money-for-influence scheme the FBI alleges his trusted aides were up to their necks in, but that he is outraged.”
Any lawyer – for a fee, of course – would be happy to explain why Mr. Donovan had rented out his tongue to Mr. Swan following the arrest of his campaign finance director on a charge that he had illegally concealed the source of funds pouring into Mr. Donovan’s campaign.
It’s like this: No one knows the full extent of what the FBI discovered in its investigation. And in the absence of such details, the published revelations in the affidavit used by an FBI plant to secure an arrest warrant for Mr. Braddock aside, anything Mr. Donovan says to the media may be held against him in a court of law.
It is only a matter of time before Mr. Swan trots out the tried and true media swerve in defense of his old friend: Mr. Donovan finds he is unable to respond personally to questions relating to “an ongoing investigation.”
One of the lawyers hovering about Mr. Donovan is former U.S. Attorney Stanley Twardy, hired by the Speaker to investigate all contributions to his campaign for Congress. Like Mr. Swan, Mr. Twardy is a battle scarred veteran of political campaigns, having served as chief of staff to Governor Lowell P. Weicker from January 1991 through February 1993. It will be recalled that then Governor Weicker forced his income tax through a somewhat tax shy legislature in 1991, heady times for Mr. Twardy. Presently Mr. Twardy is a Managing Partner of Day Pitney LLP and heads the firm’s White Collar Defense and Internal Investigations practice group.
If Mr. Twardy has not yet advised his client to button up until the discovery process has flushed out all the potentially incriminating evidence against him, if any, he is not earning his salary at Day Pitney. There is little reason to suppose that Mr. Donovan’s conscience will in coming days allow his valor to overcome his legal and political discretion.
However, a valorous General Assembly might well consider a congressional hearing to bring the facts of the case to light. There is no reason why multiple inquiries should not go forward at the same time. An investigation by Mr. Donovan’s peers may help in restoring Connecticut citizen’s shattered belief in “government’s ability to carry out its responsibilities,” Governor Malloy’s sorrowful expression when news first was brought to him concerning “Speakergate.”