Friday, March 11, 2011

Ganim Inching Towards Bethlehem?

According to the Connecticut Post, former Bridgeport Mayor Joseph P. Ganim, who spent some time in jail for political skullduggery, “took a major step toward an anticipated run for political office when he paid the remaining amount due on a $150,000 fine resulting from his conviction on 16 federal corruption charges.”

Now that Mr. Ganim has paid the fine, he may register to vote, a necessary requirement should Mr. Ganim choose to run for office.

Rumors concerning Mr. Ganim’s pending re-entry into politics have reached the ears of Bridgeport’s Democratic Town Committee Chairman Mario Testa.

I heard the rumors that he is running for mayor,” said Mr. Testa. ”I think he may have a steep hill to climb. The present administration is in a pretty good position. ... I believe Mayor (Bill) Finch will get the town committee nomination."

Mr. Ganim is a Democratic ex-felon. Republican ex-felon John Rowland, a former governor of the Indebtedness State and co-host of a radio talk show program, may at some point weigh in on the question: “Should ex-felons like Mr. Ganim – or himself, for that matter -- be permitted to run for public office?”

It would not be impossible for the General Assembly to crank out a law prohibiting ex-felons from running for office and attach it to the proposed bill repealing Connecticut’s popular death penalty law.


Bruce Rubenstein said...

Don any law prohibiting an ex felon from running for office probably would be un-constitutional at least under the equal protection clause.Be that as it may, there already is a precedent in an ex felon Mayor running for Mayor again, who won...I am thinking of WIlliam Rado from Naugatuck, but I could be wrong.

Don Pesci said...


I think you are right about Rado, and of course Mayor James Michael Curley of Boston famously executed his duties as mayor while in prison. Here you are thinking as a lawyer rather than a politician.

Everyman’s healthy response to a constitutional provision that allows felons to hold elective office would, I suppose, be similar to Mr. Bumble’s in Oliver Twist when confronted by a law ruinous to the public good: “’If the law supposes that,’ said Mr. Bumble, squeezing his hat emphatically in both hands, ‘the law is a ass- a idiot. If that's the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is, that his eye may be opened by experience- by experience.’"

If convicted felons cannot constituitionally be prevented from running for office, the impeachment process should be used to prevent them from holding office longer than good sense would allow.

If the impeachment of convicted felons is also constitutionally impossible, this would be further proof that the law, on occasion, is an ass, an important datum for people in a democracy to know.