McKinney Refunds $400 In Contributions From Contractors And Spouses; Democratic Party Chief Calls Him Hypocritical

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Republican gubernatorial candidate John McKinney has returned $400 in donations to four people who fell under the state law that bans campaign contributions by state contractors and their spouses, according to his latest financing report to state election regulators.

The four people, who gave $100 each to McKinney’s campaign committee last October, were sent refunds less than two weeks after they were mentioned in a Feb. 15 Courant Government Watch column as potentially ineligible to contribute. They are: Jonathan Gavin of Durham, president of United Concrete Products Inc. in Wallingford, and his wife, Lorene Gavin; and William Valus of Fairfield, owner/sales at Encon Inc., a heating, air-conditioning and energy-efficiency company with offices in a main office in Stratford, and Maureen Valus, his wife.

The companies of Gavin and Valus appear on the State Election Enforcement Commission’s list of state contractors, or prospective contractors whose “principals” — that is, top managers or owners — are banned by law from contributing to candidates for Connecticut statewide office and state political committees.

State Democratic Party Chair Nancy DiNardo blasted McKinney in a statement this week over the returned contributions and two more recent donations that she claims he should return for the same reason. DiNardo provided a link to an online video of McKinney saying at a candidates’ debate this past Friday that “I won’t take a penny from state contractors into our campaign.” DiNardo said he “owes the voters an apology for his blatant hypocrisy.”

McKinney spokesman Michael Fox said the campaign did not wish to comment on DiNardo’s statement, but he did provide some explanation for how the campaign committee evaluates contributions to assure that they are legal.

“Given the large number of total contributions it is an incredibly small number that have not self identified themselves [as banned contractors] but we intend to continue to be vigilant and operate by the highest ethical standards,” Fox said. Continue reading

McKinney Leads Individual GOP Fundraising Race; Boughton Team Ahead

by Categorized: 2014 Election Date:

With one month to go before the state Republican convention, Sen. John McKinney is leading in the important fundraising race for governor.

McKinney had raised more than $178,000 in small contributions by the end of the first quarter on March 31. He was followed by Greenwich business executive Tom Foley at $131,000 and Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton at $121,000.

The main candidates have said that they will be seeking public financing, which requires them to raise $250,000 in amounts up to a maximum of $100. As such, they need 2,500 contributors at $100 each. If the average falls below $100, then they would need more contributors – in a task that politicians say is far more difficult than it appears. If they reach the threshold, they would qualify for $6 million in public funds to run in the general election.

But Boughton considers his team as the fundraising leaders because he has combined with a lieutenant governor candidate, Heather Somers, to raise a combined $184,000 in qualified contributions toward the $250,000.

“Heather and I are on pace to qualify for the Citizens’ Election Program and wage a fully-funded effort to get Connecticut back on the right track,” Boughton said.

Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti was in fourth place at more than $110,000, while former West Hartford town council member Joseph Visconti and Avon attorney Martha Dean trailed at less than $9,000 each. Dean was the last candidate to enter the race, but she was among five candidates on the stage last week at the Mark Twain House in Hartford for the first major televised debate of the season. Continue reading

Sen. Schumer Invokes Sandy Hook, Calls For Increased School Security Funding

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A U.S. Senator from New York is calling for increased funding for school security, saying that federal spending on school safety has declined in recent years and local budgets carry the burden of keeping their campuses secure.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer on Monday pointed to several recent school shootings, which he said “remind us that we simply must invest more, not less, to keep our children safe at school.”

“Sadly, federal support for school safety initiatives has declined steeply over the past few years, putting a strain on local school budgets and leaving important safety projects unfunded,” Schumer said. “We must do everything in our power to allow our schools to bolster their safety programs to make sure we have the tools at our disposal to better prevent the next Sandy Hook.”

Schumer also wrote a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan asking that the Department of Education “also do its part and create a national plan that will provide necessary resources to our already financially strained schools so that they may plan for emergencies, best equip their school environment and address instances of violence when they occur.”

April 15 Tax Day: GOP Focuses On Malloy Tax Increase; Dems Talk About Rowland

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Jerry Labriola, John McKinney, John Rowland, Nancy DiNardo, Tom Foley Date:

On April 15 each year, voters and taxpayers are focused on the federal and state deadlines to get their taxes completed.

The Republican and Democratic parties both released statements Tuesday with a tax theme.

“On this Tax Day, we encourage all Connecticut families to thank Governor Dan Malloy and his record-setting tax increase for the $700 more in taxes they owe this year,” said Republican chairman Jerry Labriola, Jr. “Today, we’re all receiving a painful reminder of exactly what Dan Malloy meant when he pledged to take a ‘different path.’ Instead of holding the line on taxes and reigning in out-of-control government spending, Governor Malloy increased government spending and passed the largest tax increase in state history at a time when Connecticut families could least afford it.”

Labriola continued, “In hopes of convincing voters to give him a second term, Governor Malloy has been ignoring the facts as he tours the state armed with Malloy Math and made up “facts” about Connecticut’s economy. But Connecticut voters know the truth. The reality is that Dan Malloy’s record-setting tax hikes and irresponsible spending increases have driven us further into debt and given Connecticut the worst economy in the nation.”

In response to Labriola’s comments about Malloy, Democratic Party chairwoman Nancy DiNardo focused much of her statement on the past policies of former Gov. John G. Rowland, who left office in 2004. 

“The GOP gubernatorial candidates’ tax plans are like fairy tales: fun to read, but not believable,” DiNardo said. “Nearly all of them are saying some variation of the same thing: they’ll cut taxes by more than $1.5 billion. That reminds me of John Rowland, who ran in 1994 on a promise to eliminate the income tax. We all know how that turned out.”

DiNardo continued, “Seems they’re not quite done with John Rowland yet, since all of them are trying to be just like him. Either their ‘proposed’ cuts won’t happen, or if they do, they will attempt to balance the budget by gutting funding for essential programs like education, or by laying off tens of thousands of state employees. There simply aren’t many places in the state budget where you can cut $1.5 billion.”

Boughton Releases 2013 Tax Returns

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Republican gubernatorial candidate and Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton on Monday released his 2013 tax returns and called on others running for governor to do the same.

The returns show that Boughton and his wife, Phyllis Boughton, paid $25,950 in taxes on a combined income of $179,533 for an effective tax rate of 14.5 percent. Their income was divided between the salary Boughton earns from the city of Danbury and his wife’s earnings as owner and manager of Connecticut Kitchen & Bath in Danbury.

“In the interest of personal financial disclosure and giving the public as much information as possible, I call on every candidate for Governor to join me in releasing their tax returns,” Boughton said in a statement.

“Being Connecticut’s Governor is a privilege, not an entitlement, and people expect everyone to play by the same rules,” said Boughton. “I encourage every candidate, including Governor Malloy and Ambassador Foley, to release their tax returns as I have done.”

Last fall, former U.S. Ambassador Tom Foley, the 2010 Republican nominee who is seeking a rematch against Malloy, called on the governor to release his tax returns to prove that he did not receive any money from entities associated with environmental consultant Dan Esty, former Connecticut DEEP Commissioner.


ESPN Analyst, Ex-Major League Player Racially Profiled In Hartford Driveway

by Categorized: Pedro Segarra Date:

Former Major League baseball player Doug Glanville, who moved to Hartford last year after taking a job as an analyst with ESPN, is telling the story that he was racially profiled in his own driveway.

Glanville, who lives in Hartford’s West End with his family, says that he was shoveling snow during the just-finished winter season when a young West Hartford police officer got out of his patrol car and approached him in his driveway. The officer, who had crossed the border into the city, asked Glanville if he was trying to make a few bucks by shoveling driveways in the neighborhood on a snowy day.

Glanville responded that it was his own house.

During the brief encounter with the police officer, Glanville never mentioned that he played nine years in the Major League with the Chicago Cubs and other teams, attended the University of Pennsylvania, wrote a book, is married to an attorney, and is the son of a psychiatrist.

Glanville bought the seven-bedroom, three-bathroom, 5,200-square-foot home on one third of an acre in February 2013.

In an article in The Atlantic, Glanville mentions that he lives in an Old Tudor behind Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra and that the governor’s mansion is right down the street in the West End. He also lives a few houses away from a state legislator. Continue reading

“Knockout Game” Targeted By Lawmakers

by Categorized: Crime, Criminal Justice Date:

A legislative committee hoped to strike a blow Monday against what’s been called the “Knockout Game,” an alleged fad among teenagers across the country who punch unsuspecting passersby in an attempt to knock them unconscious.

The bill that won approval from the General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee would send 16- and 17-year-olds to be tried in the adult court system instead of being treated as juveniles if they were arrested for sucker-punching innocent people and knocking them out.

Committee members voted 31-10 to send the “Knockout Game” bill to the Senate for action.

Several lawmakers questioned whether there actually is such a “game” being played around the country. They also worried that requiring teenagers to be tried as adults in such cases would only make our court system more rigid and our prisons more crowded with people who don’t really belong there. Continue reading

Malloy On Men’s Basketball Tourney: “Come To Hartford Next March.”

by Categorized: 2014 Election Date:

Basketball fans and local businesses in Greater Hartford were pleased Monday by the news that a major basketball tournament is coming to Hartford next year.

The American Athletic Conference, which held its men’s basketball tournament in Memphis this year, is now moving to Connecticut’s capital city for March 2015.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy hailed the decision, which will bring teams from around the country to fill up seats at the XL Center in downtown Hartford, along with local hotel rooms, restaurants, and parking lots.

“I want to send a message to college basketball fans everywhere: come to Hartford next March,” Malloy said. “You won’t be disappointed.”

Anti-Fracking Waste Bill Clears Judiciary Committee

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Lawmakers worried about toxic byproducts from natural gas drilling wells in other states convinced the legislature’s Judiciary Committee Monday to approve a ban on “fracking” waste coming into Connecticut for storage or treatment.

Fracking diagram courtesy of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Fracking diagram courtesy of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The bill has yet to go through the state House or Senate, and faces competition from other legislation backed by Gov. Dannel Malloy for more state regulation of fracking waste. A third bill would put a two-year moratorium on allowing natural gas drilling byproducts to enter this state.

While it was clear the anti-fracking waste easily passed the committee, a final vote total won’t be available until later this afternoon.

Malloy has been promoting natural gas as a cheaper, cleaner alternative fuel for Connecticut than oil or gas. Continue reading

Gov. Malloy Mispronounces Auriemma At UConn Parade Outside State Capitol

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Gov. Dannel Malloy Date:

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy captured some attention at the University of Connecticut basketball parade on Sunday by mispronouncing the name of the women’s team’s well-known coach, Geno Auriemma.

Some in the crowd started to boo, and Malloy, who had just returned from Florida and was hoarse, said, “Did I mispronounce it? … I got a bad voice.”

The Courant’s longtime sports columnist, Jeff Jacobs, reports the following from the rally outside the state Capitol in Hartford:

Before he drew boos for mispronouncing Geno Auriemma’s last name — making him a candidate to run for mayor of Boston — Gov. Malloy had drawn big cheers for welcoming the crowd to the “Basketball Capital of America.”

And on this day, who was in position to argue?

This date, April 13, is a date that forever will hold a grip on the hearts of sports fans in our state.

April 13, 1997, was a dark, dark day.

Hartford’s last NHL game was played that day, and it was mourned by thousands and thousands. Seventeen years later, about 25 members of the Hartford Whalers Booster Club gathered Sunday for its annual “Fanniversary” at the Black Bear Saloon.

April 13, 2014, was a great, great day.

Across the street and up the hill from the Black Bear, 200,000 gathered for a parade to celebrate UConn’s dual national basketball championships.