Thursday, July 12, 2012

Donovan’s Pandora’s Box

Speaker of the State House Chris Donovan’s bid for the U.S. House is beginning to look like the inside of Pandora’s Box.

Those who have kept up with their Greek mythology will recognize Pandora as the first woman, created from water and earth by Hephaestus, the god of craftsmanship.  At her creation, she was endowed with many godly gifts: Athena draped her in rich clothes; Aphrodite blessed her with beauty; Hermes bestowed on her the gift of speech. But there was a problem.
Prometheus, whose name means forethought, had rebelled against the gods on behalf of men, gifting them with fire and knowledge, for which effrontery he was punished by Zeus, who presented Pandora to Prometheus’ brother, Epimetheus. Here, temptation entered the world. Given a beautiful box and warned never to open it, her godly gifts -- most especially curiosity -- induced her to open the box, at which point all the evils of the world flew out, spreading over the earth and contaminating the race of men.
FBI investigations of political corruption often involve the opening of political Pandora boxes.
Media curiosity – even saintly journalists are not free of human imperfections -- has now alighted on “a key member of Speaker of the House Chris Donovan’s legislative staff” who had refused  “to cooperate with an internal investigation he [former U.S. Attorney Stan Twardy] launched into alleged campaign finance law violations in his [Mr. Donovan’s] 5th District Congress campaign,” according to one news report.
The Twardy investigation, which inferentially cleared Mr. Dovovan of corruption,  was considerably hampered -- some would say rendered pointless -- by the refusal of principals under investigation by the FBI, all associates of Mr. Donovan, to participate in the investigator’s probe.
Among the refusenicks were Robert Braddock, Mr. Donovan’s fired finance director, and Donovan campaign manager Josh Nassi – both of whom were intimately involved with Mr. Donovan’s bid for the U.S. House in the 5th District.
Could Ms. Jordan, one columnist queried, have been “the conduit between the campaign and the powerful engine of doing favors for friends in the speaker’s office? She was, until recently, in a close personal relationship with fired Donovan campaign manager Joshua Nassi, who has been identified as one of three co-conspirators with Braddock.”
Ms. Jordan, herself a lawyer, has now lawyered-up. In investigations of this kind, lawyers interposed between possible political criminals and the media serve the same purpose as did mail vests in the age of chivalry. The arrows of outrageous fortune are sometimes prevented from striking a vital organ by lawyers who advise their clients to refrain from talking with, among others, Mr. Twardy. In the modern age, not patriotism but lawyers have become the last refuge of scoundrels.
In the meantime, the probe continues, as does Mr. Donovan’s limping campaign for the U.S. Congress.
A Grand Jury indictment, according to a report,lays out an alleged conspiracy between Braddock, Raymond Soucy, a top corrections union official [who has now requested early retirement], three unidentified roll-your-own shop owners and two other campaign aides, identified by sources as Joshua Nassi and Sarah Waterfall, to provide money for the campaign in exchange for House Speaker Donovan killing the bill.”
The indictment,according to another report, fleshes out charges made in an earlier affidavit that secured the arrest of Mr. Braddock and brings Mr. Donovan close to the conspiracy to fraudulently disguise campaign contributions for the purpose of affecting legislation that would impact roll your own in Connecticut: “It shows that there was discussion among tobacco store owners and another individual identified as a conspirator of channeling tens of thousands of dollars to Donovan's campaign. One such discussion took place, according to the indictment, outside a Meriden restaurant in November just moments before two roll-your-own store owners were scheduled to meet with Donovan.”
If the Twardy report was an awkward attempt to review the Elizabethan age without mentioning the contributions of Queen Elizabeth or the plays of William Shakespeare, the Braddock indictment brings the principal actors associated with Donovan on stage in more explicit roles.
Here we see Mr. Soucy telling two roll your own unindicted co-conspirators prior to a meeting he had arranged with Mr. Donovan that neither should mention any bills because "the men in black running around . . . all the time . . . and we say, 'hey, we don't want you to do this bill,' . . . that's the same as me giving him a twenty, hundred dollar bill, 'let me go on the (expletive) two ounces you got me with'."
Following the Braddock indictment, Mr. Donovan’s new campaign manager – Tom Swan,  executive director of the once non-partisan Connecticut Citizen Action Group, now a shill for Democratic Party mackerels shining in the moonlight – dispensed the usual palliatives, while Mr. Donovan’s campaign spokesman Gabe Rosenberg assured the media that “Nothing in this indictment is inconsistent with the findings of the independent Twardy report.”
Singing canaries are everywhere, and threats of prosecution likely have them sharing with the FBI information they have withheld from Mr. Twardy. Despite repeated calls for Mr. Donovan to drop his campaign for the U.S. Congress -- none issuing from Governor Dannel Malloy, a former prosecutor and the titular head of the Democratic Party -- Mr. Donovan is moving forward resolutely into the continuing crisis.    

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