McKinney: Malloy\’s Trip To Washington For Big Correspondents\’ Dinner Violated Ethics Laws Because People Magazine Paid For It

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State Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Fairfield, Wednesday said Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy\’s trip to Washington, D.C., over the weekend violated state ethics laws because his expenses for travel, accommodations and food – estimated at more than $1,000 – were paid by People Magazine.

\"people\”Accepting such a gift puts the governor in violation of state ethics laws,\” McKinney said in a statement. \”During his trip the governor attended the White House Correspondents Dinner and related after parties.\”

“The Governor is in clear violation of state ethics laws,” said McKinney. “Allowing a corporation to pay for his travel and entertainment expenses on a non-official visit constitutes inappropriate use of the governor’s office for personal financial gain – period. Governor Malloy needs to account for his actions and make amends.”

McKinney said Malloy needs to \”provide all documents and correspondence pertaining to his recent trip\” – adding that Malloy \”cannot transform a social event like this into a business meeting merely by talking up the state over champagne and hors d’oeuvres.\”

Malloy\’s director of communications, Andrew Doba, denied any violation of the law. He said Malloy\’s expenses could be legitimately be paid for by People Magazine as a gift to the state because he was acting in his official capacity to market Connecticut in his conversations with federal officials and others as he mingled.

Doba said the governor\’s legal counsel\’s office had checked ethics rules and decided it was okay. However, Malloy\’s office sought no advice directly from the Office of State Ethics, said that office\’s executive director, Carol Carson.

Later Wednesday, Doba released a statement from Malloy\’s legal counsel, Luke Bronin, saying the office had relied on \”past guidance\” from the ethics office in deciding it was legal for Malloy to make the trip on People Magazine\’s tab. However, Bronin added: \”Out of an abundance of respect for Connecticut’s ethics laws, the Governor’s Office will seek a formal advisory opinion of the Citizen’s Ethics Advisory Board.\”

The advisory board oversees Carson\’s ethics office. Carson would neither confirm nor deny whether her office had received any complaint about the Malloy trip, or whether the office will conduct an investigation.

McKinney said that the Office of State Ethics has ruled that it is an “illegal use of office for personal gain,” in violation of Section 1-84(c) of the state general statutes, for any public official to accept gifts in excess of $100 per year year from a “non-restricted donor” – in other words, a non-lobbyist.

The rule is designed to “stop corporations, like People Magazine and its parent company Time Inc., from spending lavishly to entertain government officials,\” McKinney said. \”Thus, despite the governor’s claimed defense, it is irrelevant that People Magazine and Time Inc. are not lobbyists. However, it is worth noting that Time Inc. is a member of the Association of Magazine Media, which does employ a lobbyist in Connecticut.”

McKinney said he doesn’t buy Malloy’s claim that he was “marketing the state” while in at the lavish dinner and at least one related party – and he added that “this explanation still leaves the governor in violation of state ethics laws.”

“This is not comparable to the governor attending the World Economic Forum in Davos where he represented the economic interests of our state and was a speaker on the forum’s agenda. The primary purpose of his latest trip was clearly to attend the White House Correspondents Dinner, an extravagant and expensive entertainment event,” McKinney said.

“The governor cannot transform a social event like this into a business meeting merely by talking up the state over champagne and hors d’oeuvres, nor can he transform this into a legitimate business trip by scheduling some brief ancillary meeting with a federal official or business group,” McKinney said.

“If the Governor is seriously claiming that his attendance at the White House Correspondents Dinner was legitimate state business, he should produce the invitation to attend describing the purpose, the agendas for the event, a list of discussion topics, meeting minutes, and any other evidence of the official purpose and business conducted on behalf of the state,” McKinney said.

McKinney added: “Our ethics laws are meant, not only to eliminate bribes and conflicts of interest in state government, but to also prohibit public officials from using their state office to obtain free services and perks. Based on the facts as we know them, Governor Malloy broke the law. If he has evidence to the contrary, he should come forward and say so, but every explanation to date has been unsatisfactory. The proper remedy would be for him to admit his fault and personally repay all of the expenses associated with his trip.”

Here is the statement from Bronin, the governor\’s legal counsel, in full:

Governor Malloy was invited, in his official capacity, to attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner by People Magazine.  The Office of the Governor has received past guidance from the Office of State Ethics indicating that a non-restricted donor (as opposed to a restricted donor) may make payment for expenses that public officials may incur to travel to events, attendance at which will facilitate state action or functions.

Governor Malloy’s attendance at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner provided an invaluable opportunity to advance Connecticut’s interests.  The White House Correspondents’ Dinner is a unique gathering of senior Obama administration officials, members of Congress, and business and media leaders from around the country.

The Governor’s Office could have paid for Governor Malloy’s trip to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.  Since People Magazine, a non-restricted donor with no business with the State, offered to relieve the Connecticut taxpayers of that expense, the Governor’s Office accepted the invitation.  Out of an abundance of respect for Connecticut’s ethics laws, the Governor’s Office will seek a formal advisory opinion of the Citizen’s Ethics Advisory Board.


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43 thoughts on “McKinney: Malloy\’s Trip To Washington For Big Correspondents\’ Dinner Violated Ethics Laws Because People Magazine Paid For It

  1. Ken Krayeske

    This comes off as politics, but ethically speaking, McKinney was ahead of the curve in January 2004, when he was one of six Republican Senators to call for Convict Rowland’s resignation. McKinney, though, refused to call for the disgraced Lou DeLuca’s resignation, and the all-knowing google has no record of McKinney commenting on Ernest Hewett’s sexist debacle.

  2. HarryH

    Sure it is politics but it doesn’t mean it is wrong and the gov is right. He shouldn’t be allowed for a trip be payed for no matter what the purpose. Even IF he went to talk up the state who would even listen at a party.
    This is bad it should be a violation and stopped. Even to go to economic summit companies shouldn’t be allowed to pay
    Bad bad for Malloy and it sure wasn’t very smart.

    1. jan

      Better he party it up on the magazine’s account than the taxpayers. Wasn’t he living it up in Hollywood recently? C’mon.

  3. Joanie

    Sooooo you would rather the State pay the bill? oh my to love the Tea Party

    1. johngaltwhereru

      Maybe Malloy could pay for it himself. That would be the Tea Party way.

    2. Marie12

      Well just keep adding up these “benefits”. He has surpassed the value of a hot tub by far and Jepsen is there to protect Dannel, not us.

      Johnny looks like a Boy Scout compared to Dapper Dan. The fish rots from the head down and Malloy stinks.

  4. Alternative One

    Harry H – are you illiterate?
    Payed should be paid;
    “who would even listen at a party.”should be “who would even listen at a party?”
    “This is bad it should be a violation and stopped.” should be “This is bad, it should be a violation, and stopped.”
    “Bad bad for Malloy and it sure wasn’t very smart.” WHAT??

    1. Paul

      Actually, the comma after “violation” is not required. A semicolon is probably more appropriate after ” This is bad” since it and what follows are independent clauses. Class is dismissed.

  5. JBlock

    It’s great to know that our state has such a vocal whiner- in-chief in McKinney. All he does is complain like a bratty little kid who has gotten everything in life handed to him because of his family name. I don’t like Malloy but at least he is out there trying to raise the profile of the state.

  6. glennhamilton

    The Ct Gov should be impeached immediately. He has severly harmed the State of Ct with his political actions in which the state lost 1 billion in revenues.
    This trip is the icing on the cake.
    Anybody but him would do better.

  7. John H

    I think this is clearly an ethical violation. I cannot believe the Governor is actually making an argument that this trip was to promote the State. He is also quoted as saying that he could have used State funds for this trip. I think that would have been a worse violation.

    1. Finster Baby

      State funds WERE used in this trip. Who paid for Malloy’s security detail – their flight, their hotel, their food and their overtime? CT taxpayers did.

      So this is the worst of two worlds — Malloy is taking illegal corporate money to pay for his “coming out” party in DC AND CT taxpayers are also on the hook for his security.

      Malloy has found a way to bring double-dipping to a new level.

      1. John H

        Good point Finster. I am a Democrat and I voted for him. I cannot believe that he is even fighting this issue. He needs to admit what he did was wrong and pay back the money. What’s next, a trip to the Oscars to promote the State?

        1. Marie12

          One and done for Dannel…it is always all about him. This is one of many self promoting events. Imagine what we don’t know about YET.

  8. Shoreline Resident

    Further proof that the Governor is greasing the skids for a Washington DC job. Fortunately that is a win for Connecticut.

    1. Joanie

      blah ….the Transportation job went to someone were all ..whats the word….wrong

      1. Jeff R

        He went down to lobby for the EDUCATION job, not the transportation job. He knew that was already gone

      1. cmen

        Everyone knows Rell was a do nothing! What’s your point? It is an ethics issue period! Malloy did not seek clarification from the ethics board – why? He didn’t want clarification!

          1. David Simpson

            You only have to look at Malloy’s family. His son a felon and his wife trying to get herself out of a ticket. He only thinks about himself and the cushy Washington job he is going for.

  9. Buttpincher

    As much as I dislike Malloy I don’t think this is a big deal for one reason. He left CT and it didn’t cost the CT taxpayer.

  10. Chuck

    He already did the Oscar gig, courtesy of Chris Dodd – check it out – Malloy was there.

  11. Disgusted former Democrat

    Clear violation of state ethics law. Malloy and his stuttering rationalization was an embarrassment. 2014 cannot come soon enough.

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  13. Sharpshooter

    com’on, Malloy is always in D.C..guess he can’t stand to see the progress on the ‘boondogle busway’…

  14. Charles Thompson

    You “People Of The Goverment” tickle me. The laws that you have pass, are now turning on you! But since it’s the “Ehtics Law”. Then the Govenor is CLEARLY WRONG. There is no PRETTY WORDS, or REASONS that is going too make his actions look right!

  15. DrHunterSThompson

    well, even a broken clock is right twice a day. McKinney seems to have this one right.


  16. Dr. Aki Bola, Esq.

    Here’s how this works in politics. Get caught, pay it back, no consequences, carry on. In private business, accepting bribes (that’s what it is called when you accept outside money) gets you fired, possibly prosecuted.

  17. Mitch

    Malloy was marketing himself and nothing more. He is a disgrace, this is just another chapter, minor it may be, but it is nothing new.

  18. mark nati

    Let me see People Magazine paid for the trip instead of the tax payers and that is a bad thing for us tax payers HOW!!!!!!!

  19. Insightful

    Here are the rules on ethics… He violated State Statutes… If you got something worth more than $100 only because of your position in the State, you can not accept it.

    Non-restricted donors giving you something because of who you are in state service – If a gift-giver does not fall within the definition of a restricted donor, but is nonetheless giving you something because of your public position, you should be aware that a dollar limit exists. From this type of donor, you may only accept up to $100 annually from a single source, in addition to any of the items listed in the 17 gift exceptions noted above and set forth in Conn. Gen. Stat. § 1-79 (e) (1) – (17).

    ? Non-restricted donors giving you something that has nothing to do with your state job – There is no limit as to what you may accept from a non-restricted donor, such as your neighbor of 20 years or a best friend from kindergarten, who is giving you a gift that has nothing to do with your public position. This holds true as long as the donor remains non-restricted. Should this individual become a registered lobbyist, for example, the gift provisions regarding restricted donors would apply, regardless of any longstanding personal relationship.

  20. AR-PRO

    What he did was wrong, plain and simple. He knows he broke the law and because he thinks he is above the law he believes he can do whatever he wants. He should be held accountable on every level, he should have to pay for every cent spent on this trip, from airfare to his personal security detail and their needs (hotel fees, food, etc.). His delusional thoughts of being the king of Ct have gotten in the way of his legal responsibilities… Time to pay the piper! Pay up Danny-boy!

  21. Joanie

    You want this guy to be in charge? Sargeant Schultz?

    “When told by reporters that Time Warner Inc. owns People magazine and the magazine belongs to an association that has a Connecticut lobbyist, Sharkey said, “OK. That’s news to me”

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