If you've been getting Dannel "Dan" Malloy's recent campaign emails you know that the incumbent Governor is using his recent support for a higher minimum wage to raise money for his re-election campaign.
What doesn't show up in those emails is the fact that the Malloy campaign operation accepted a $5,000 check, last October, from WAL-MART STORES INC. PAC FOR RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT.
The check was deposited into one of the Democratic State Central Committee's checking account on October 9, 2013. This is the account Malloy and his campaign are using to side-step Connecticut law that restricts candidates from accepting political action committee money if they are participating in Connecticut's public financing system.
Taking $5,000 in blood money from the Wal-Mart PAC is in stark contrast to Malloy's orchestrated "campaign photo op." a few weeks ago. As CT Mirror reported on March 26, 2014,
With partisan votes on a pocketbook issue that the White House and Connecticut Democrats hope will mobilize voters this fall, the General Assembly voted Wednesday for legislation that would raise the state's $8.70 minimum wage to $10.10 by January 2017.
The bill, which was approved 21-14 in the Senate and 87-54 in the House, became an instant political talking point for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and President Obama. Malloy is to sign the bill Thursday evening at Cafe Beauregard, the New Britain restaurant where Obama dined before a minimum-wage rally three weeks ago.
"I am proud that Connecticut is once again a leader on an issue of national importance. Increasing the minimum wage is not just good for workers, it's also good for business," said Malloy, a first-term Democrat facing re-election.
And in an email the Malloy campaign sent out yesterday, Malloy writes,
"Together, we have created new private sector jobs and we became the first state in the nation to raise the minimum wage to $10.10. The progress we've made for the people of Connecticut has been great, but there is more to do. We cannot afford to turn back now!
To win, we need to hit certain fundraising benchmarks and the next one is to raise $20,000 by midnight on Monday. Your gift goes directly toward helping us qualify for public financing. Chip in $5 or more right now >>
There is still so much more work to do if we're going to secure Connecticut's future.
I am counting on you to help me qualify for public financing. Then the fundraising emails stop and we move on to the next phase of our campaign: grassroots organizing.
In other words, all is well... donations from Connecticut voters who support the minimum wage in one pocket, a check for $5,000 from Wal-Mart in the other.
"I don't really see it having the impact that the pundits think it's going to have," was all Boughton could muster when he asked him about it at the time. "Rowland is popular in the 5th District. I don't know about the rest of the state, but in the 5th District, he remains popular."
Our guess is that Boughton got in bed with Wilson-Foley and her husband Brian for the same reason that Rowland did - because they're millionaires with a significant ability to raise money for his future gubernatorial campaign.
Boughton joined fellow mayors last January in backing an aggressive gun control agenda formulated by the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities. He also praised New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's push for legislation in New York that limited high capacity magazines and required background checks.
But after right-wing anti-gun control candidate Martha Dean entered the race for governor, and gun enthusiasts posted photos showing themselves with $100 bills, pledging to donate to Boughton's campaign if he would leave the organization Mayors Against Illegal Guns, he did just that earlier this week.
"People over politics," or "principles over politics," would indeed be a great rallying cry for a candidate for governor in 2014. But so far, Mark Boughton seems mainly concerned about finding cash to fund his campaign and maneuvering through a Republican primary in which right-wing activists will beat on candidates who don't pander to gun makers.
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton is running for Governor, and he'd rather cozy up to the Washington gun lobby than honor his promise to keep Connecticut families safe. That's why he announced on Facebook that he's leaving the Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition.
Boughton's slogan is "people over politics" -- but when people across Connecticut posted reactions on his Facebook wall, his campaign deleted almost all of the comments from people who support common sense gun laws, including his own constituents.
Boughton's campaign is trying to silence the voices of Connecticut families, and it's time to take action so he can't just delete what you have to say.
What didn't Mayor Boughton's campaign want Connecticut to see? Heartfelt, honest messages from people across the state like these:
"I just found out that you pulled out of the gun sense group. I don't trust any politician who aligns himself with the gun lobby. Shame. You've betrayed your neighbor, Newtown."
"You certainly don't have my support or the support of my newly-minted American citizen husband - mom & dad of a Sandy Hook survivor and friend of slain principal Dawn Hochsprung."
There are dozens more, but Boughton silenced them all. We need to take action so he can't just delete you from a debate that has life and death consequences and let the gun lobby do the talking for him.
We can no longer tolerate candidates for office who won't do all they can to prevent gun violence. Mayor Mark Boughton made it clear that he stands with the gun lobby. It's time for us to remind Connecticut of his position.
Thanks for standing with us,
Mayors Against Illegal Guns
Mark Boughton...putting "Politics over People" since 2004!
Teacher and CT News Junkie columnist Barth Keck has written another insightful commentary piece about the Common Core. The article is entitled, "Common Core Appears to Miss the Boat on Common Technology."
...public schools are gearing up for the Common Core, national principles designed to "establish clear, consistent guidelines for what every student should know."
However, when it comes to ensuring that student fully develop technological skills, the experienced teacher notes that only 4 out of 75 standards address "our digital world."
Keck correctly observes that the Common Core is, "Not exactly an accent on "21st century skills." He adds,
Students undeniably should be accountable to challenging standards, but please don't tell me that the CCSS are based on current research. At the very least, the standards' authors could have conducted "observational research" by watching smartphone-wielding teenagers for a full day in a BYOD [bring your own device] high school.
If they had, the Common Core might not only look different, but also be more authentic.
John Rowland, Larry Cafero, and Tom Foley are the gifts that keep on giving for Connecticut Democrats.
The seemingly imminent arrest of once-a-crook, always-a-crook John Rowland is a reminder that if Dan Malloy wins reelection this fall, it may be due less to his accomplishments in office than to a stream of untimely scandals that have engulfed the Connecticut GOP in recent months. There was a time not too long ago when questionable ethics looked like one of the leading arguments against Malloy's re-election. Tom Foley has made repeated charges about Malloy steering state business to the firms of political allies; and GOP leaders have relentlessly gone after Malloy for every little perceived ethical infraction. Sometimes the GOP criticisms have been legitimate, for example Malloy's letting People Magazine pay for his trip to the White House Correspondents Dinner (the governor was later forced to reimburse the publication); and sometimes frivolous, for example allegations that Malloy seeking funds from state contractors on an October 2013 trip to California (a complaint dismissed last month by the State Elections Enforcement Commission).
But the bombshell resignation in February of House GOP Chief of Staff George Gallo, and one shoe dropping against Rowland (with the other soon to come), have utterly vitiated the argument that Dan Malloy has brought state government into a moral disrepute that only the GOP can dispel.
It is not simply hypocrisy that has been exposed in the gaping chasm between the GOP's high-minded rhetoric on ethics and the sordid reality. The series of GOP scandals in recent months has exposed the kind of suicidal incompetence that we have come to expect from a political party that has not won a congressional or statewide election in Connecticut since 2006. Connecticut Democrats have hardly been scandal-free in recent years -- but what is so striking about the recent Republican scandals is how much havoc ethically challenged GOP pols have been able to wreak without actually holding any statewide offices or having any serious leverage in the legislature, where Democrats enjoy commanding majorities. Some of us are old enough to remember when actually holding power was a pre-requisite for hideous corruption!
For those having difficulty keeping track of all the recent GOP scandals, here is a brief primer:
* John Rowland. After serving ten months in federal prison for corruption eight years ago, Rowland is lawyered up and ready for another cameo in federal court. The felonious ex-governor is about to be indicted on charges of initiating a criminal conspiracy to evade campaign finance laws by acting as a paid consultant to Lisa Wilson-Foley's failed 2012 congressional campaign without proper disclosure. Wilson-Foley and her husband have already pled guilty to participating in the conspiracy and appear to be cooperating with authorities to bring down the hammer on Rowland. Having drawn Wilson-Foley, former GOP chairman and "Political Adviser #1" Chris Healy, and numerous other Republican candidates and operatives (as well as some non-Republicans like former Waterbury Mayor Mike Jarjura, who courted widespread mockery for hiring Rowland for a city job after he left prison) into his death-spiral, the man once seen as a rising star in the GOP and a possible vice presidential or cabinet nominee, almost seems to be on the payroll of Connecticut Democrats.
* George Gallo. A former GOP state party chair and Joe Lieberman's Republican BFF, Gallo has served for the last few years as the Chief of Staff to the House GOP Minority Leader's office. Gallo abruptly resigned after a federal raid of house GOP offices in February, the investigation revolves around possible kickbacks from a Florida printing and direct mail company that House GOP members may have been steered into using for campaign mailings. It's unclear how wide the probe reaches, but senate GOP staff was interviewed by investigators in March, and it's hard to imagine that this developing scandal won't have severe repercussions for anyone close to Gallo, and for any Republican incumbent who used the services of Direct Mail Systems.
* Larry Cafero. The House Minority Leader, who is retiring after 11 terms, was embroiled in the same pay-to-play scandal that brought down House Speaker and congressional candidate Chris Donovan in 2012, with disgraced political fixer Ray Soucy putting $10,000 cash in Cafero's mini-refrigerator (all ignominiously captured on tape). While he has managed to escape prosecution, Cafero has long been the subject of allegations of unethical behavior because of his day job doing "contract work" for a politically connected law firm that does substantial lobbying at the state capitol. Hartford Courant columnist and former Republican state legislator Kevin Rennie says Cafero's loyal deputies Themis Klarides and Vincent Candelora, one of whom will become Minority Leader, are fatally compromised by their association with Cafero.
* Tom Foley. Despite raining down unproven ethics accusations against the Malloy administration, Foley has significant ethics baggage of his own, having been fined $15,000 by the SEEC for violating campaign finance laws last year. (In essence, Foley's infraction -- hiding campaign spending from disclosure by laundering it through a third party -- is not much different from what Rowland is accused of.) Mark Pazniokas of the CT Mirror has documented how Foley is part of a web of interlocking super PACs that appear to be coordinating with each other and with his campaign. Foley is also the chairman and founder of a nonprofit "think tank" that even other Republicans have suggested is a thinly disguised (and possibly illegal) vehicle for political self-promotion.
The details of these scandals may be too intricate for the average voter to follow, and some have not yet fully played themselves out as civil fines or criminal indictments. But money being stashed in fridges, federal agents raiding capitol offices, and pretty much anything involving John Rowland are juicy red meat for Malloy and other Democrats in what would otherwise be a difficult election year. In the tea party wave of 2010, the bumbling GOP still managed to lose all statewide and congressional races in Connecticut. With clouds of GOP scandal as far as the eye can see, will they get bageled again in 2014?