Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Bysiewicz Nota Bene

Following is an excerpt from a Hartford Courant story detailing politically useful notes that Susan Bysiewicz overlaid on her data base of business clients, innocent schleppers who wrote to Bysiewicz in her capacity as Secretary of State soliciting her help on various matters:

“It says Kevin Donohue of Columbia is ‘Bill Curry's Cousin; Influenced by Edith Prague; Works in Windham.' Curry is a former Democratic state comptroller who ran unsuccessfully for governor. Prague, a Democratic state senator from Columbia, when told of the notation Tuesday said, 'That's hysterical.’

“It contains this description of a now-dead Democrat who held municipal office in the Naugatuck River Valley: ‘White beard; Former teacher; Likes attention ...’

“It says former New Canaan Councilwoman Ruth Smithers ‘loves George Jepsen.’ Jepsen is now one of Bysiewicz's opponents for the Democratic nomination for attorney general — an office being vacated by Blumenthal, who is running for U.S. Senate.

“It says that a child of one politician ‘has issues’ — an apparent reference to problems with the law. It mentions a rabbi who ‘Doesn't shake hands he bows’ and ‘likes Blumenthal.’ It says a town selectman is a ‘Retired Teamster’ and ‘has had a kidney transplant.’

“It describes James J. Giulietti, a North Haven lawyer, as ‘influenced by Chris Duby; friend of Ganim; former town chair; 2003: Running for P & Z.’ A decade ago, Christopher Duby was chief of staff to Democratic Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim, who later went to prison.”

Bysiewicz is running for attorney general, a spot on the Democratic ticket left vacant by Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, now running for U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd’s seat.

It took political adepts about three seconds to notice that the notes Bysiewicz appended to the names and addresses of people who had contacted the Secretary of State on official business were political in nature.

It did not helped that questions had earlier been raised concerning Bysiewicz's database following disclosures that the secretary of state had shared her 36,000-name database with her campaign committee, which then used it to send out e-mails to those listed soliciting campaign contributions and political support. When one of the recipients issued a complaint with state election officials, the matter was referred to Blumenthal for investigation.

Not only did the notes tickle Prague’s fancy,” they pointed in the direction of political skullduggery, according to some respected members of Connecticut’s commentariat.

Courant humorist and columnist Colin McEnroe noted on his blog that the Bysiewicz notes fell outside the secretary of state’s constitutional prerogatives but were “enormously helpful to a politician raising money.” Kevin Rennie, another Courant columnist, noted on his blog that the notes had little to do with the duties of Bysiewicz’s office and predicted further difficulties for Bysiewicz, “who’s known more for her ambition than her achievements. She’ll soon get to explain her public office political operation when she takes a star turn under oath in her court action seeking to have herself declared eligible to run for attorney general.”

Blumenthal, who has decided to maintain his present position while he runs for the U.S. Senate, has remained mum on the whole business, a posture that must be difficult for a man so used to issuing premature press releases detailing the failings of those he plans to sue. There are notches on the handle of Blumenthal’s pistol that would put Wyatt Earp to shame. Presently, Blumenthal is batting away charges that a claim he made in a recent debate is highly improbable. Blumenthal asserted in a debate with Merrick Alpert, spurned by some in the Democratic Party, that his many suits encouraged business growth in the state. Not so, the Waterbury Republican America, one of Blumenthal’s more persistant and effective gadflies, responded.

Republican Party Chairman Chris Healy, unfailingly humorous, concluded a review of the Bysiewicz soap opera by noting, "So, in essence, Bysiewicz is suing herself while she is being investigated by the man who has to defend her office in Hartford Superior Court so that she can succeed Blumenthal in his office." Republican candidates for attorney general are eupeptic. Every one of them would be wise to consider smuggling into all their campaign addresses and press opportunities the following laugh line: “I’m running for attorney general, and I wouldn’t know Kevin Donohue from a hole in the ground.”

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