State Senate Minority Leader/Republican gubernatorial candidate John McKinney called on Gov. Dannel P. Malloy Tuesday night to publicly disclose details about his recent California fundraising trip to raise money for the state Democratic Party – and Malloy’s possible meeting with a California Democrat whose company, McKinney says, has had $4 million worth of state contracts in recent years.
McKinney, of Fairfield, emailed a statement to news organizations shortly after 5 p.m., about an issue raised in Capitol Watch earlier in the day. A blog item by Courant staff writer Daniela Altimari said that David Peterson, a Democrat waging a long-shot campaign for Congress against House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, posted a tweet on Twitter over the weekend suggesting Malloy was in the Bay Area – and in the company of Lenny Mendonca. Mendonca is a prominent Northern California Democrat who is an executive with a company that has had recent contracts with the University of Connecticut.
The Peterson tweet said: “@Lenny_Mendonca Pleasure to meet you. Thank you so much for hosting CT Gov. Dan Malloy!”
Here is McKinney’s news release:
Pay for Play?
McKinney: “Malloy’s California Fundraising Trip Raises Ethical Questions.”
Hartford, CT – State Senate Minority Leader John McKinney (R-Fairfield) is calling on Governor Dannel P. Malloy to publicly disclose details pertaining to his California fundraising activity on behalf of the state Democratic Party, including the possible solicitation of campaign contributions by a state contractor.
According to press reports, while on his fundraising trip, the governor was a guest of Lenny Mendonca, a prominent Northern California Democrat who co-founded the public sector practice at McKinsey & Company, a firm that has held state contracts worth millions-of-dollars with University of Connecticut.
- In FY2011, McKinsey & Company received 3 different payments from UCONN of $570,000 each for a total of $1,710,00.
- In FY 2012, McKinsey & Company received 4 additional payments from UCONN of $570,000 each for a total of $2,280,000 (A total of $3.99 million over two years).
“The revelation that the governor met with a state contractor while on a fundraising trip for the Democratic Party raises a number of questions,” Senator McKinney said. “If the governor was soliciting a state contractor, or his employees for political contributions, then he clearly violated the spirit of Connecticut’s campaign finance laws, if not the laws themselves.”
Senator McKinney is pointing to the trip as an example of why Connecticut’s campaign solicitation ban needs to be reviewed and possibly expanded. He will seek a review through the General Assembly’s Government Administration and Elections Committee (GAE) during the next legislative session. State election law currently prohibits the solicitation of campaign contributions by state contractors from their employees.
McKinney said it is also important to note that even under public financing laws, state parties can spend unlimited amounts of money on statewide candidates and that recent legislation doubled the amount an individual can donate to a political party to $10,000.
“The governor of the state of Connecticut should not be soliciting state contractors for campaign contributions under any circumstances. And if this governor is soliciting a firm that has received millions-of-dollars in taxpayer money from UCONN, it is particularly disconcerting given the fact that this governor has flown all over the world on the UCONN Foundation’s dime. Taxpayers have a right to know who the governor met with and who was solicited for donations. Left unanswered, this matter gives the state and the governor, quite frankly, the appearance of being for sale.”
There was no response from the governor’s office. Malloy’s director of communications, Andrew Doba, referred questions to the state Democratic Party. The party’s spokesman, James Hallinan, had this to say: “The governor always follows all rules and regulations.”
But did Malloy meet with Mendonca, as Peterson’s tweet suggested?
Hallinan would not answer that question. Instead, he said: “Again, we don’t comment about [Democratic Party] finance issues. That’s just our protocol. The governor always follows all rules and regulations.”
Hallinan’s response was consistent with Malloy’s tight-lipped treatment of a question he was asked Monday about his California fundraising trip. His only response, as reported by Courant Capitol bureau chief Christopher Keating, was: “It was nice.”
Earlier in the day, state Sen. Toni Boucher, R-Wilton, who is considering running for her party’s nomination for governor next year, said that she has submitted a request under the state’s Freedom of Information Act for records pertaining to Malloy’s West Coast fundraising trip. The state Democratic Party has said that it paid for Malloy’s travel costs, but Boucher is seeking a list of all costs incurred by the state police, who provide security for the governor.