U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly has shut down a criminal Grand Jury investigation into questionable election funding by Connecticut’s Democratic Party, according to stories in multiple Connecticut papers.
Democrats, one must suppose, are breathing a huge sigh of relief. Grand Jury investigations are always fraught with danger because they are Star Chamber proceedings in which attorneys generally are able to persuade jurors to support charges filed against defendants who are not permitted defense representation. The old joke is that a halfway capable U.S. Attorney would be able in a grand jury proceeding to convict a grapefruit of jaywalking.
Apart from a brief announcement that the grand jury had been shut down, Ms. Daly made herself unavailable for questioning. “A spokesman for U.S. Attorney Deidre M. Daly,” a Courant report read, “would not comment.”
The “no comment” means that answers to all the important questions will be buried with the decision not to prosecute.
What questions might those be?
Was the criminal investigation shut down before or after the grand jury had rendered a verdict? Now that the investigation has been terminated, will the charges submitted to the grand jury and its recommendations, if any, be made public? Will transcripts of the grand jury investigation be made available to the general public, which has, after all, paid for the proceedings?
The questionable campaign practices on the part of the Connecticut Democratic Party involved campaign brochures released both by Malloy and Edward Kennedy Jr, then running for the State Senate. The Malloy campaign brochure, as seen above, was a Democratic Party, pro-Malloy gubernatorial campaign document that included on the bottom an inconspicuous notice advising those who received it how they may best find out where their polling places might be located. This footnote allowed Democrats to claim improbably that the document, clearly a pro-Malloy campaign advertisement, was in fact a voting notice that permitted contributions from state contractors under federal laws – which trumped inconvenient state clean election laws. The addition of the footnote, Democrats argued, transformed state election documents into federal notices that allowed contributions prohibited by Connecticut clean election laws. Additionally, Democrats argued that federal law always takes precedence over state law, an ordering of importance Democrats who support sanctuary cities in the state later would waive.
Then Chairman of the Republican Party Jerry Labriola filed a complaint with the impotent State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) alleging that the brochure violated Connecticut’s Clean Election Laws, which prohibit state contractors from making political donations to politicians who, winning office, would be in a position to pass laws and regulations affecting the contributors. Connecticut’s clean election laws were passed by legislators following the conviction of former Governor John Rowland on a charge of “theft of honest services.” Rowland had allowed state contractors to work on his lake cottage. He was found guilty and sent to prison for a year and a day, after which politicians in the state, both Republicans and Democrats, congratulated themselves on their moral probity. The state’s prohibitive clean election laws were cited in numerous papers across the nation as providing a template that other states concerned with election year corruption should adopt.
The SEEC found that Labriola’s complaint had merit, but before relevant email records that had passed between Governor Dannel Malloy and the State Democratic Party were subpoenaed for a possible court action, Malloy’s lawyers agreed to pay a fine of $325,000 to settle a case, CTMirror noted at the time, that “threatened to undermine campaign finance reforms inspired by the scandal that toppled Gov. John G. Rowland: a ban on donations from state contractors and a voluntary system of publicly financed campaigns.”
One inconvenience removed and one to go. The state attorney led grand jury proved to be a pushover.
Now that Ms. Daly has bowed out, the state’s Clean Election laws, other politicians should know, can easily be violated – provided the offender is not a Republican – through the payment of a fine much smaller than the contributions reaped by clean election law offenders; after all, the money paid in fines by the Democratic Party to the misnamed State Elections Enforcement Commission had been collected in part from contractors whom the pretentious moral imposters in the General Assembly had previously determined were to be prohibited from bribing legislators.
Bribe away – and it won’t cost you a single penny out of your own pockets. Law enforcers who tossed former radio talk show host John Rowland in the clinker twice have winked at the violation of laws that serve as a breastplate for Democratic crooks.