Thursday, December 05, 2013

Malloy’s One Percenter Crony Capitalist Campaign Contributors


When Northeast Utilities CEO Thomas May talks campaign donations, his managers listen. But then, Governor Dannel Malloy’s crony capitalist friends tend to be effusive in their praise of their benefactor. "While he has accomplished much, there is more to do," Mr. May wrote in an e-mail to 50 of his managers. "Please join me in providing support to continue the work begun, providing new opportunities, and securing the leadership to make it happen."

Of battling Dannel, Mr. May enthused, “he battled through issues of historic proportions — from nature's wrath to one man's horrific actions," a reference to Adam Lanza’s slaughter of children in Sandy Hook Elementary School. Storm Sandy, of course, stood no chance when confronted with battling Dannel. And mention of Mr. Lanza by politicians in campaign modes cannot help but generate among the voting public a thumbs up for the politician and a thumbs down for Mr. Lanza.


Mr. May provided in his e-mail to his managers the nexus that tied Mr. Malloy to Northeast Utilities. The governor “has clear energy goals that align with our corporate mission and initiatives. He wants clean, reliable and affordable energy — so do we. He brought all appropriate stakeholders together to develop the state's first comprehensive energy policy. He understands the value of and is supportive of expanding access to natural gas… He is supportive of bringing clean, affordable and carbon neutral large scale hydro power into New England. And, he has been a supportive partner in our system hardening efforts and storm preparation initiatives."

Following these effusions, came the hard sell: “"Please make contributions payable to: CT Democratic State Central Committee — Federal."

Convinced by Mr. May’s irrefutable proofs of Mr. Malloy’s leadership and boundless energy in “continuing the work begun,” Mr. May’s employees ponied up. Campaign cash in return for political favors delivered is the heart and soul of crony capitalism.  The exchange, it should be noted, benefits both the crony capitalist suck-ups, who receive from the politician favors that tend to give them an advantage over his competition, and the politician, who magically creates the favorable impression that he is rescuing his state from the penury he himself has brought upon it through high taxes, union friendly agitation, which drives up the cost of labor, and excessive regulation, all of which tend to impact unfavorably smaller capitalist operations that do not have available to them the sycophantic resources of large corporations and quasi-public enterprises. 

NU contributors made their checks payable not to Mr. Malloy, the subject of Mr. May’s sycophantic appeal, but to “CT Democratic State Central Committee – Federal,” according toa copyrighted story in the Hartford Courant. And the managers were generous too. Campaign finance records show that $46,500 in contributions have been made by more than 20 NU executives in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the Connecticut Democratic Party following Mr. May’s appeal for funds on behalf of the heroic Mr. Malloy.

Since Mr. Malloy was the only person mentioned prominently in Mr. May’s appeal to his managers for campaign donations, one investigative reporter wondered, why were the checks to be made payable to the federal wing of Connecticut’s Democratic Party?

State campaign laws do not permit these kinds of campaign contributions. However, where there is a will, there is a way. Under federal campaign laws, more lax than the state campaign laws under which both Mr. Malloy and Mr. May are compelled to operate, a state party may appropriate and spend funds deposited in a federal account, provided the funds are used to support “get-out-the-vote activities” in connection with an election where a candidate for federal office is on the ballot, and never mind that such appropriations and expenditures also assist party candidates running for state office. The “federal option” is one of those campaign finance loopholes large enough to accommodate Santa Claus and his sleigh, outrigged with jingling cow bells and eight beefy and determined reindeer.

A brief consultation with NU lawyers confirmed that the company was operating within the confines of the law, according to NU spokeswoman Caroline Pretyman. Crony Capitalist Tom, Ms. Pretyman said, “consulted our internal legislative and legal affairs experts to determine where to direct any funds. There are rules and regulations that govern where donations can be directed when individuals do business with the state and the federal account is one that all NU individuals are lawfully permitted to participate in." Ms. Pretyman assured doubtful reporters that fatwas would not be issued against non-compliant managers.


Republican opponents of the governor, scandalized by such a blatant violation of the spirit of campaign regulations, might have responded to Ms. Pretyman in the accents of Mr. Bumble, a character in Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist,” Told that the law supposed that Mr. Bumble’s wife was acting under his direction, Mr. Bumble responded, “If the law supposes that, the law is a ass — a idiot". And if the law supposes that slippery politicians will not take advantage of loopholes engineered into the law by other slippery politicians, we may say, along with the practical minded and astute Mr. Bumble,” If the law supposes that, the law is an ass – an idiot.”  
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