Former House Speaker Christopher G. Donovan has remained mostly silent for almost a year, saying virtually nothing as eight individuals were arrested in an FBI sting operation in a campaign finance scheme related to his race for Congress.
Donovan was clearly hurt politically by the federal scandal surrounding him, and he lost in the Democratic primary in August 2012 to Democrat Elizabeth Esty, a one-term state legislator who had a much lower profile than the veteran House Speaker when the race started.
On Tuesday, after the closing arguments in the federal trial against his campaign finance director in New Haven, Donovan finally spoke. He declined to answer any questions, saying he had not been assured that the investigation is over.
The following is his written statement as released by his spokeswoman.
\”Now that this case has gone to the jury, I wanted to speak with you directly.
For the past year, other than very limited comments, I’ve had to let others speak for me.
Whatever the jury decides in this case against Rob Braddock, I stand here to confirm what I told you a year ago: my vote was never for sale, and I was not involved in Ray Soucy’s conduit contribution scheme.
That doesn’t mean I didn’t talk to Ray Soucy; I never denied that I did. I met with him and the Roll Your Own folks. I talk to people all the time about issues that concern them. I knew they were concerned about their small businesses, and I care about small business. But there was no quid pro quo.
So what about my conversations with Ray Soucy? Context is everything. I heard he had a heart attack and I called him. He lobbied me hard about Roll Your Own, and I was surprised about how concerned he was.
Two weeks later, he shows up – unexpectedly – at the convention. I said, “I took care of you.” When somebody wins, you say, “I took care of you.” When somebody loses, you say, “Sorry it didn’t work out.” That’s just how we talk. Now, the government obviously thought that sounded bad. When I saw the tape, it did sound bad. The way it sounded is not what I meant.
And a second later when Soucy mentioned killing the bill, I corrected him – I told him no.
Ray had a script. I never had a script. I told the truth.
Donovan continued, \”After a year of investigation, all you heard about me was innuendo and soundbites played out of context.
The NRA gives money. The Koch brothers give money. Unions, big businesses give money. And it is all legal. The Supreme Court ruled it\’s free speech.
What happened to me is a cautionary tale. Everybody running for office should be worried about what happened to me – because it could happen to you, too. Somebody you know shakes your hand, talks about something at a fundraiser and plots to take you down. It can happen anywhere – it can happen to anyone.
Who can run for office then? Only the millionaires.
That is why I am going to pick up where I left off, fighting to bring reform to campaign finance laws. I was really proud of the work I did to pass our Citizens Election Fund legislation in Connecticut. We need a federal public finance system so anyone can run for office.
That’s what makes the irony of this so very bitter.
My reputation may have taken a beating over the past year, but what has gotten me though it all is the support of my family, and my close friends, and the knowledge that Ray Soucy is wrong – not all politicians are for sale. I am not and never was.\’\’