It's not something he is likely to brag about, but Dan Malloy is a better liar than Tom Foley. His falsehoods are more nuanced than Foley's; he tends to misrepresent or bend facts instead of outright lying. That's not to suggest Malloy hasn't told some serious whoppers: about protecting teachers' pensions (he had nothing to do with inserting a clause in a 2007 bond covenant requiring full funding of the teacher pension fund) and about the comparability of the budget deficit he inherited from Jodi Rell (which he talks about ad infinitum) versus the $1.4 billion deficit (which he pretends doesn't exist) predicted for 2015-16, once the election is safely behind him.
However, it is Malloy's Republican opponent who has raised shameless and cynical lying to the level of an art form. Dan Haar wrote an excellent column last week dissecting Tom Foley's many misrepresentations, half-truths and outright lies about the economy, and many other Foley Falsehoods have already been dutifully fact-checked by Ken Dixon, Mark Pazniokas, and others. But to get a full picture of the breadth and depth of Foley's capacity for willful deception, here is a "greatest hits" compilation of some of Foley's most egregious lies:
1) In 2013, Foley told the Hartford Courant editorial board that he wanted a "Wisconsin moment" in Connecticut, referring to the draconian actions of Governor Scott Walker against public sector unions. But addressing the CT AFL-CIO convention in June 2014 -- when he essentially had the GOP primary in the bag and was beginning his triangulation towards the political center -- Foley bizarrely insisted that his Wisconsin moment comment was simply about going "from one-party rule to more balanced government, as Wisconsin did in 2010." The claim was so absurd that Foley was almost laughed off the stage.
2) When a Quinnipiac poll came out in September showing that Foley was leading Malloy by six points, Foley told the media that his internals showed the same thing. The next Q poll showed the race as a tie, and Foley said his internals had always showed the race was a tie, even when public polls showed him substantially ahead. Both of those claims can't be true. As Mark Pazniokas wrote, "The GOP nominee is trying to disabuse the press and voting public of the impression that Malloy has momentum." Nothing wrong with that motive, but telling baldfaced lies? Not so cool.
3) Initially Foley claimed that no police report existed for the 1981 incident in which he was arrested for allegedly striking another vehicle with his car in an apparent act of 'road rage.' Actually it turned out there were not one but two police reports about the incident. Then in a recent debate, Foley bizarrely claimed that one of the police reports was not actually written by a police officer, but a "complaint written by a citizen." In fact it has been known since at least October 2013, when the Hartford Courant unearthed the two reports, that they were written by members of the Southampton, NY police department.
4) Foley lied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his 1981 and 1993 felony arrests when he was undergoing background checks for appointed positions in the George W. Bush administration. Foley has not denied that he misrepresented his arrest record to the FBI, but demonstrating an almost boundless capacity for hypocrisy he has repeatedly criticized Malloy for not conducting more thorough background checks on appointees.
5) Foley has repeatedly denied that he was fined by the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) for campaign improprieties, when in fact the $15,504 civil penalty that Foley's Super PAC paid to the state as part of a settlement agreement with election regulators has been a matter of public record since October 2013. As the Super PAC's treasurer, Foley was personally fined an additional $600. So even if he could plausibly claim that he wasn't fined by SEEC because it was actually his campaign treasurer who was responsible, he would still be lying since he was in fact the treasurer of the Super PAC which participated in the offense. These lies were obviously intended to preserve Foley's argument -- which once seemed like it would be central to his campaign -- that only he could restore integrity to state government after the corrupt reign of Dan Malloy. With mounting evidence of his own "situational ethics" surrounding campaign finance laws, Foley has simply abandoned that argument.
6) Foley has claimed that "each year of Malloy's administration has had fewer job gains than the year before." As Dan Haar pointed out in a recent column, "totals from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show gains of 14,300 in 2011, followed by 13,900 in 2012 and 18,400 in 2013, clearly the best of the three years." In other words, job growth was significantly better in 2013 than 2011, Malloy's first year in office, so the truth is almost the exact opposite of what Foley says.
7) Foley said he never sought the endorsement of the anti-gay Family Institute of Connecticut (whose PAC endorsed him this summer). But it was revealed that he had met twice with the social conservative organization in recent months, including once right before the endorsement was made public.
What is odd about Foley's lies is that for someone who lies so often, he is surprisingly bad at it. Why would he say that he had never been fined by SEEC, or that a police report was not written by the police, when those statements (both made in live televised debates) could so easily be proven false? If you're going to lie to the media (not to mention the public), have some self-respect and make it a little bit challenging for them to expose your flagrant dishonesty!
It is increasingly difficult for the media, or the public, to take anything Foley says at face value. His repeated lies have invited a heightened skepticism of all his campaign's claims, including those that are true, making it much harder for him to get his message across. Foley's persistent habit of confusing the truth with what he wants to be true -- what Stephen Colbert has called "truthiness" -- will continue to haunt him until the election, and if he loses on November 4, for a long time afterwards.
I don't have enough time to do a complete write-up of the 2014 Connecticut State Senate races, but I at least wanted to get my ratings out there. So this diary contains a table of the 36 State Senate races in Connecticut. The table contains the names of the Democratic and Republican candidates for each seat, as well as the largest town in each district, the partisanship of each district, the incumbent's percentage of the vote in 2012 (if the incumbent is running for re-election), and my ratings for each district.
The one and only 25-minute debate between Democratic State Treasurer Denise Nappier and her Republican challenger Tim Herbst wasn't long enough. The two candidates sparred after the debate at NBC Connecticut's West Hartford studio.
Max Reiss, NBC's political reporter who helped moderate the debate, said the two candidates continued their policy discussion after the event, which was livestreamed on NBC's website.
The microphones were silent, but the finger pointing continued in both directions after their closing statements.
While the cameras and microphones were rolling each candidate accused the other of lying about the state's fiscal condition and the state's unfunded pension liabilities.
"We have an obligation to the tens of thousands teachers and state workers all across Connecticut to turn this ship around. To rebound our pension fund. To make sure that our taxpayers aren't on the hook for this huge unfunded liability," Herbst said. "Unfunded liability is code language for future tax increases."
Nappier responded by saying "Tim likes to repeat untruths, but doesn't make it true."
"He wants to blame me for things I have nothing to do with whatsoever," Nappier said. "It's probably easier for him to do that because perhaps he thinks that the voters will not know the difference, but they do know the difference."
Nappier went onto explain that the treasurer can only invest what they receive and historically the governor and the General Assembly have not given her funds to invest.
The latest poll from Quinnipaic on the "who do you dislike less" race for Governor shows the this race is stil up for grabs...and Gov. Malloy's unfavorable numbers are a serious problem.
Men and women likely voters are miles apart, leaving the Connecticut governor's race between Democratic incumbent Gov. Dannel Malloy and Republican challenger Tom Foley tied 43 - 43 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Independent candidate Joe Visconti has 7 percent, with 6 percent undecided.
This compares to results of an October 22 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN- uh-pe-ack) University, showing Gov. Malloy with 43 percent of likely voters to Foley's 42 percent.
Today, with Visconti out of the race, Foley gets 46 percent to Malloy's 45 percent.
In the three-way matchup, independent voters go to Foley over Malloy 48 - 33 percent, with 14 percent for Visconti.
Republicans back Foley 87 - 7 percent, with 4 percent for Visconti. Democrats go to Malloy 82 - 9 percent, with 3 percent for Visconti.
The gender gap remains wide, as Malloy leads Foley 52 - 35 percent among women, with 5 percent for Visconti, while Foley leads Malloy 51 - 34 percent among men, with 10 percent for Visconti.
"The Connecticut governor's race is a fight to the finish between Gov. Dannel Malloy and challenger Tom Foley - and between men and women," said Douglas Schwartz, PhD, director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.
"Independent candidate Joe Visconti's numbers have edged slightly downward. Not a surprise given that many of his supporters told us they could change their mind. Perhaps we are beginning to see some of those more conservative minded Visconti voters shift to Foley as the election draws near," Dr. Schwartz added.
Just 6 days before the election, 86 percent of Connecticut likely voters who name a candidate say their mind is made up, while 13 percent say they might change their mind. Their minds are made up, say 89 percent of Malloy voters and 90 percent of Foley backers, while 56 percent of Visconti supporters say they might change their mind.
Connecticut likely voters give Foley a split 43 - 43 percent favorability rating, while Malloy gets a negative 41 - 52 percent score. Visconti remains unknown as 75 percent of voters still don't know enough about him to form an opinion,
"Foley's favorability rating has improved. Voters now have a mixed opinion of him after viewing him negatively. Voters' views of Malloy are stable and negative," Schwartz said.
In this case, the issue isn't which major party candidate for governor will do more damage to teachers and public education, but whether the candidates and their supporters are accountable for the rhetoric and claims they make during this campaign season.
The backdrop of the story is that in order to persuade Connecticut's public schools teachers to overlook Governor Dannel "Dan" Malloy's three year record of demeaning, denigrating and bashing teachers and the teaching profession, Malloy's supporters have recently sent out a series of campaign pieces claiming that;
Governor Malloy is the "first governor in Connecticut's history to annually fully fund teacher pensions during his first term in office and guarantee full funding in the future."
The primary problem with the claim is that Malloy had no legal option but too fully fund teacher pensions and furthermore, he deserves absolutely no credit for guaranteeing full funding of the teacher pension system in the future.
The credit for Malloy having successfully made the necessary payments and fully funding the state of Connecticut Teacher Pension Fund actually goes to the Connecticut Education Association, the members of the 2007 General Assembly and Governor Rell.
And while trying to inappropriately take credit for something he did not do, Malloy and his supporters conveniently overlook the fact that, as governor, Malloy has taken dramatic actions that have actually jeopardized the financial stability of the fund that helps pay for health insurance premiums for retired teachers.
As was reported in the October 15, 2014 Wait, What? blog entitled, "Teachers misled with claim that Malloy deserves credit for "fully funding teacher pension," Governor Malloy had no option but to fully fund teacher pensions. In fact, had Tom Foley been elected in November 2010 instead of Dannel Malloy, he too would have been required to make those same payments.
The reason Malloy or Foley would have been required to fully fund the teacher pension system is a result of a 2007 law that authorized the state of Connecticut to borrow $2.3 million and use those funds to address the historic underfunding of the Connecticut Teacher Pension Fund.
The law not only required the state to make any and all necessary payments for the next 25 years, but that requirement was made iron-clad when the language was added to the bond covenants the accompanied the bonds when they were sold to Wall Street investors.
As previously noted the proposal to safeguard the teacher pension fund was pushed by the Connecticut Education Association, passed by the Connecticut General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Rell.
But seven years later, the Malloy political operation has been attempting to mislead teachers into believing that it was none-other-than Malloy who deserved the credit for something that took place before he even became governor.
Today, in a CTMirror article entitled, Fact check: Who really protected teacher pension funding? the truth about this whole controversy is laid out.
Since their controversial endorsement of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, leaders of the largest teachers' union in Connecticut have portrayed the governor as the defender of what teachers worry about most: the future of their pensions.
But while touting Malloy as the first governor to "fully fund" the long-neglected pension system, the leadership message of the Connecticut Education Association doesn't mention that Malloy had little choice but to do so. His hands effectively were tied by legal guarantees put in place by Gov. M. Jodi Rell and the 2007 legislature.
Each of the four budgets Malloy signed during his term does include the full pension contribution recommended by teachers' pension analysts. Connecticut governors and legislatures have a history of contributing significantly less than the full amount.
That changed, though, in 2007, when lawmakers and Rell adopted a proposal from Treasurer Denise L. Nappier to borrow roughly $2 billion and deposit it into the cash-starved pension fund.
Connecticut promised in the bond covenant - its contract with investors who bought those bonds - to budget the full pension contribution required by analysts for the entire 25-year life of the bonds.
The CT Mirror story should be required reading for every Connecticut teacher and for all of those who follow the politics that surround Connecticut's State Budget.