There is a hole in the state’s clean election law. Rigorously observed, the law is supposed to prevent state politicians from wresting campaign contributions from contractors and other business associates whom political officials oversee. The hole is quite legal, but it violates what ethicists sometimes call the “spirit of Connecticut’s clean election law.” The clean election law was adopted in Connecticut soon after then Governor John Rowland was sent packing to prison for the first time on corruption charges.
The hole most recently became apparent when Attorney General George Jepsen, once Chairman of the state Democratic Party, persuaded a host of Connecticut lobbyists, business executives and deep pocket one-percenters to cough up campaign contributions for Mark Herring, a friend of Jepsen who finds himself in a tight race for Attorney General of Virginia. The controversy surrounding Jepsen and Herring may or may not be – the reader must forgive the irresistible pun -- a red-herring.