Documents, e-mails and the like that usually provide a backdrop to political campaigns generally are not made public, unless they are subpoenaed by an aggrieved party. Following a complaint made by Republican Party Chairman Jerry Labriola, Connecticut’s State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) has subpoenaed documents and communications involving Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and several of his top aides, according to story broken by George Coli of NBC Connecticut News Live.
Mr. Labriola charged in his March 2014 complaint that Democrats illegally circumvented the state's ban on contractor contributions during the last gubernatorial campaign by laundering money through a federal account used to pay for mass mailings benefiting Mr. Malloy.
While state law prohibits state contractors from contributing to campaigns for state office, a measure adopted shortly after former Governor John Rowland had been convicted of corruption on a charge of honest services fraud, federal law allows such contributions up to $10,000. Executive director of the Democratic State Central Committee Michael Mandell has acknowledged “an inherent conflict between the requirements of federal and state campaign finance laws as to how get-out-the-vote activity must be funded” but claims that “state law is clearly pre-empted by federal law in this case." The state Democratic Party, he said, followed the law when it used federal contributions to pay for Mr. Malloy’s mailings.
Even assuming Mr. Mandell is right as a matter of law, not everything legal is politically advisable. The Democratic Party need not have taken advantage of a federal loophole that violates a law most politicians in the state, including Mr. Malloy, who once operated as a prosecutor and is no stranger to the ethical components of laws, heartily approve. But Mr. Malloy and party apologists did so for reasons spelled out by Tammany Hall ward boss George Washington Plunkitt, a proponent of “honest graft.” Mr. Plunkitt, who knew better than most Democrats of his day how to squeeze campaign contributions from deep pockets, used to say, “I seen my opportunities and took’em."
Legislatures and governor’s offices are full of politicians practiced in finding convenient detours around laws they approve for others. Current Speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives Brendan Sharkey is an attorney and owner of AmeriZone, LLC, a small consulting business specializing in zoning and permit expediting for national companies. President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, the Grand Poobah of Connecticut’s General Assembly, is a partner in the law firm of Keyes & Looney, a practitioner in residence with the Criminal Justice Program in the Department of Public Safety at the University of New Haven in West Haven and an adjunct faculty member in the Political Science Department at Quinnipiac University in Hamden. Lawyers all, the three top political shakers and movers in Connecticut are also nominal leaders of the state’s Democratic Party, all of them determined to reduce the Republican Party to a nullity; in a one-party state controlled by Democrats, there can be no room for uppity Republican legislation. Threats to one-party rule must be nipped in the bud.
Mr. Labriola’s suit may be less threatening than the e-mails and quasi private documents the suit is likely to uproot. The ghost of John Rowland -- recently sentenced to prison a second time, first as a corrupt governor and the second time as a radio talk show host – hangs over every attempt to snuff out corruption in Corrupticut. If the federales can prosecute a talk show host for facilitating political corruption, why could they not similarly prosecute lobbyist, former flack catcher for Mr. Malloy and Vice President of the politically well-connected Global Strategies Roy Occhiogrosso, who dodges in and out of politics like a bolt of heat lightening. Everyone should remember that Mr. Occhiogrosso is innocent until proven guilty. But are the e-mails that had passed between Mr. Malloy and Mr. Occhiogrosso in the blast-furnace of a political campaign also innocent?
Even one untoward e-mail, politicians sometimes forget, may be the mud that sticks. And not all politicians are clever enough to sequester on private servers e-mails that seem to be indestructible. Likely Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is now struggling mightily to shove under her Persian Carpet numerous potentially mud splattered e-mails from her faithful servant Sidney Blumenthal that point to her complicity in the murder of Libyan Ambassador John Christopher Stevens and other American heroes slain by al-Qaida connected terrorists.
“Truth will come to light; murder cannot be hid long… at the length truth will out,” says Luancelot in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. But politicians in Connecticut need not despair; in Corrupticut, the laggard truth arrives on the scene long after elections have concluded. Dominant Democrats have arranged the farce that way.