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Foley's Campaign Arrested By Reports Of Arrests

Tom Foley, the Republican Party nominee for governor, went to bed on Thursday thinking well of himself and woke up on Friday a near criminal. Two of his Republican primary opponents have called upon him in tones once used by James Cagney to “come clean” and release his arrest records.

According to a story written by Jon Lender, a superb digger and investigative reporter at the Hartford Courant, Foley was arrested 29 years ago for having bumped a car with his car. Foley was charged with first-degree attempted assault for having “rammed a vehicle, placing the occupants in fear of serious physical injury,” according to a July 2, 1981 story in the Southampton Press newspaper. The charges were later dropped.

The second arrest involved a dispute with his wife during what is described as a messy divorce. In politics, divorces are a dime a dozen, though not always messy. Senator and Governor Lowell Weicker, for instance, shed about half as many wives as Henry VIII, apparently without incident. U.S. Senators Chris Dodd and Joe Lieberman were both divorced and re-married. Unlucky in divorce, if not in love – Foley and his second wife are expecting the birth of a child soon – the gubernatorial hopeful found himself, one day nearly three decades ago, remonstrating with his soon to be divorced wife over their son. Both were arrested. The charges later were dropped.

Unlike other Connecticut pols who spent a good amount of time in the slammer – Phil Giordano, the mayor of Waterbury who molested young girls in his office, or Joe Ganim, the mayor of Bridgeport, who was remunerated for political favors, or state senator Ernest Newton, convicted of receiving a bribe and using campaign contributions as a private piggy bank, or Governor John Rowland, who sold his office for a mess of pottage – Foley cooled his heels in jail for only one night while awaiting the arrival of a lawyer next day. Both his arrests were the result of personal rather than political misbehavior.

There are as yet two unanswered questions: 1) Should Foley release to the media his arrest records? He should, unless the release of the records will disturb other legal arrangements he has made with his former wife. Why bait the sharks if there is no harmful skeleton locked away in the records? And 2) Did the information received by Lender come from some other politician who has an interest in the gubernatorial race?

Lender offers a tantalizing tidbit concerning the provenance of the story. The records obtained by the Courant were not given to the paper by Foley’s ex-wife. They were included in a mass of documents assembled during the administration of former governor Rowland – and were ferried from the gubernatorial office by whom?

We may never know, even if Foley does arrange to release the arrest records, as has been suggested by nearly every contender for the gubernatorial slot, all of whom would stand to benefit from the release.

A few weeks ago, a damaging report published by the New York Times concerning Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s fraudulent claims of service in Vietnam were partially softened by reports in the media that some of the information had been shuttled to the Times by the Linda McMahon campaign. Apparently the provenance of information sometimes matters, at least when the reports tell against Democrats favored by Connecticut’s liberal media.

Those who stand to benefit immediately from the release of the records are present Lieutenant Governor Mike Fedele and Oz Griebel, both running for governor as Republicans. Waiting in the wings ready to pounce are Dan Malloy and Ned Lamont, Democrat gubernatorial hopefuls. Foley has characterized the Lender story as fair, well written and comprehensive. No other vital information, he insists, would be forthcoming from a release of the arrect reports. So far, Foley has told his political opponents to go take a hike, but the clamor for the release of the documents is still in its larval stage.


marlys said…
The McMahon campaign's participation in the Times story became an issue when the McMahon campaign itself gloated that it was their story. Though it's nice that the Times, the normal "liberal media" boogeyman, is off the hook (for this week at least.)

In any case, it seemed clear in the immediate aftermath of the Blumenthal story that the point of McMahon pushing it out when they did was not about hurting Dick, but rather about convincing the party faithful that she was a knife fighter deserving of a convention win. Think through who stands to benefit (and who can't benefit) by throwing this Foley piece out there now. The Democrats would rather have something like this appear in mid-September. Fedele would probably prefer to have some money on hand while Foley's soft underbelly is exposed. Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if Foley put it out there himself.

Now I don't know, maybe it was the Dems and they are dumber than I think. Maybe it was someone in Foley's personal circle (a friend of his ex-wife's, maybe) that chose this moment to put this story on the street. But whoever it was (and for whatever reason) that released these documents right now, there has to be some kind of logic to it.
Don Pesci said…
Fine analysis Marlys. I’m pleased to have it from you. I always wanted to write a column called “Where Do Stories Come From Mommy?” Usually the provenance is unimportant, unless the story is in some sense misleading, though it is fun to speculate. Remember “Deepthroat?” It took years to uncover him. Woodward seemed determined to carry the secret into the grave, but luckily the canary outed himself before he kicked off.
Fuzzy Dunlop said…
You bring up a good point that keeps getting left out by other columnists; both Foley AND his wife were arrested, and the charges as to both were dropped.

Having seen a number of divorces first hand, I will also say this; they are painful enough the first time around, and so it is understandable why both Foley and his ex (who refused to comment) would not want to relitigate their dissolution again in the court of public opinion. It is also of note that his son, who's custody was at the center of the disputes it seems, appears in his campaign commercials, and that I've heard through the rumor mill they have a fairly good relationship.
Don Pesci said…


I agree, and it’s fair-minded of you to mention it. If there are preceding legal arrangement upon which the divorce settlement depends, those arrangements should be respected. The Blues are looking for a stick to beat Foley with. There’s the money stick, less important in the case of wealthy Blues (Weicker, fawned over by the Courant during his entire career.. even now), the divorce stick – none of the curious Blues showed much interesting uncovering the settlements made between Weicker and his four (is it four?) wives – the religious stick (apparently Dean is not an atheist, an agnostic, or a Unitarian whose faith is marbleized with streaks of Buddhism) … lots of sticks. And while the thumping is in process, no one need discuss the important issues of the day. Incumbents slide on this shooty-shoot into office. Is it any wonder people have given up reading newspapers?
Anonymous said…
I am researching both candidates for CT Governor as thoroughly as possible, including going back and reading blogs about them for the past 6 months or so.

Your comments are always factual, astute, and sensible.

I have grave misgivings about Mr. Tom Foley.

He truly should have disclosed his two arrests before running for public office.

Instead, he waited until an investigative reporter uncovered the facts, and has since attempted to brush them off and gloss them over.

What cannot be ignored is that far more recently, he made glaring omissions in his Federal Security Clearance disclosure forms, and in front of Congressional testimony for his Ambassador job. That is very serious. HE IS A VERY SMART MAN, he is insulting our intelligence by saying "Oh, I guess that was a goof."

His swashbuckling entrepreneurship as a corporate take-over artist, I suppose, is typical of the times so let's put that nastiness aside. And his ugly divorce from the first wife is purely personal, let's put those allegations of abuse aside, also. And I guess we should also put aside his Bush Crony role for so many years. And I really don't care about the 116-foot yacht and the $7 Million Greenwich mansion.

I believe there is a fundamental flaw in the system if we elect a twice-arrested person who compounds those sins by covering it up on federal forms. Those are raw and obvious character and leadership shortfalls by the candidate.

Ellen P.

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