Republicans reacted quickly to The Courant’s Tuesday night disclosure that Northeast Utilities’ top executive asked 48 of his senior managers in a Sept.17 email to support Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s re-election chances by contributing money to the state Democratic Party. (More than NU senior managers, including May, have given $46,500 to the party’s federal campaign account since the email was sent.)
Tom Foley, the GOP’s unsuccessful 2010 gubernatorial nominee who is eyeing another run for the party’s nomination in 2014, issued a statement calling the email a “shakedown” and an example of “government for sale.”
Republican State Chairman Jerry Labriola said that it violates the “spirit” of campaign financing restrictions for May to request that NU managers support Malloy, the state’s chief executive, by routing their contributions into the party’s federal account.
Democratic State Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo responded: “The state party follows all laws, rules, and regulations when it raises money. Chairman Labriola is upset because under his leadership his party is broke, and Tom Foley’s upset because his campaign is a car wreck.”
The Republicans’ full statements are below.
“Northeast Utilities is a prohibited state contractor whose executives can’t give money and can’t solicit money for state candidates. Since this solicitation for the state Democratic Party’s federal account only mentions efforts to re-elect Governor Malloy, it appears to be in clear violation of the spirit of the law. There is a reason these restrictions remain in place, even after Dan Malloy gutted the campaign finance laws in our state to improve his chances next year. They exist so that while a governor is finalizing his energy policy, executives at the company with the most to gain can’t influence him by donating thousands of dollars towards his re-election.”
“NU’s shakedown of its employees to support Governor Malloy is more ’government for sale’ sleaze from the Malloy Administration. “Pay to Play” is shamefully back in Connecticut with Governor Malloy creating a loophole in the law last spring and then providing a wink and a nod to state contractors and lobbyists letting them know he is open for business. The idea that a Connecticut utility now can and does play directly in the election of those who regulate them is the modern day equivalent of smoke filled rooms and envelopes full of cash – and not very smart because Governor Malloy may not be governor starting in January 2015.”
”Now that state parties can play directly in campaigns and coordinate with those campaigns, those prohibited from contributing directly to a governor’s campaign should now be prohibited from contributing to state parties. If I enter the race for governor, I will encourage the Republican Party not to accept contributions from anyone prohibited from contributing to my campaign, period. If I am elected governor, I will seek to disallow these tainted contributions to our state parties because they erode public confidence. I will also seek to prohibit state contractors who make contributions to one of our state parties in the current election cycle from entering into new state contracts for five years. And, to the extent possible, impose civil fines and sanctions on those who contribute in the current election cycle to a state party who would not have been allowed to contribute to a governor’s race. I encourage Governor Malloy to make the same pledge.”