Sunday, March 24, 2013

Feds On The Prowl

This is the sort of headline successful politicians do not want to see in their political resumes: “Feds Subpoena Middletown Health Center s Records Relating to Officials Including Wyman and Malloy's Budget Chief.”

Last December, a grand jury subpoenaed documents – e-mails, paper communications and other records – from a host of democratic officials and aides including Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's budget cruncher, Ben Barnes,  the governor’s Secretary Office of Policy and Management.

All the snooping is related to a political stinkpot that blew up as former Speaker of the House Chris Donovan was running for the U.S. Congress in Connecticut’s 5th District.

During the midst of a FBI investigation into campaign irregularities in the course of which Mr. Donovan’s campaign director was arrested, Mr. Donovan, the Democratic nominee for an open seat in the U.S. Congress, chose to leave the campaign and surrender his position in the General Assembly. Speaker Donovan was replaced by present Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey and, stepping into his campaign shoes, Elizabeth Esty was elected to the Senate.

Of course, no one should conclude on the basis of an FBI investigation that anyone indicted has therefore been found guilty. Here in the United States, we still presume people charged with campaign irregularities are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, even though in Corrupticut the presumption strains credulity. The presumption of innocence, by the way, is useful mostly as an instruction by a judge to a jury; as such, it means that jurors are to consider only evidence at trial in determining guilt. The rest of us are free to speculate as we wish.
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