Tom Foley Says 11 Legislators – 9 Democrat, 2 GOP – Have Conflicts Of Interest; Not Giving Up on Bill; Mentions Cafero, Not Others

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Greenwich, John McKinney, Tom Foley Date:

Tom Foley is not giving up.

Despite facing a huge buzzsaw of opposition over his bill on conflicts of interest, the former Republican gubernatorial nominee is pushing ahead to resurrect the measure before the session ends on June 5.

At a news conference on Tuesday, Foley announced that 11 legislators – 9 Democrats and 2 Republicans – have conflicts of interest because they either work for a lobbying firm, a public employee\’s union or a state contractor. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Joseph Markley of Southington, is designed to prevent those conflicts.

Foley declined to name the 11 lawmakers, but confirmed that one of them is House Republican leader Larry Cafero, a longtime real estate attorney who works as a partner for the lobbying and law firm of Brown Rudnick. Foley has said that Cafero \”absolutely\’\’ has a conflict of interest by working for a firm that currently lobbies the legislature. Separately, Brown Rudnick is at the center of an ongoing civil lawsuit by the consulting firm of Hartford Democratic political operative Matthew J. Hennessy against the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority, the influential regional garbage agency. Hennessy charges in the lawsuit that Brown Rudnick had been the pre-determined winner of a consulting contract and that the firm has been engaged in illegal lobbying at the state Capitol.

But Foley told reporters Tuesday that the issue is bigger than Cafero.

\”I\’ve known Larry Cafero for a long time,\’\’ Foley said. \”I think he\’s served honorably in the House. He\’s a friend. This legislation is not about trying to capture or single out certain individuals. It\’s an attempt to target practices that, I think in today\’s environment, most people consider unacceptable. Anybody who would currently run afoul of the law has the option of not taking the income or leaving the legislature.\’\’

Foley, who won 128 of the state\’s 169 cities and towns before losing to Democrat Dannel P. Malloy in the 2010 race for governor, says he is running again. He could be facing Cafero, Senate GOP leader John McKinney, and Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton in a potential Republican primary in August 2014.

Cafero is a \”contract-income partner\’\’ at the firm, but not an equity partner who shares in the overall profits of the firm. He has repeatedly said that he has received written ethics rulings about precisely what he can and cannot do at Brown Rudnick. He has denied any wrongdoing and said he knows nothing about illegal lobbying by Brown Rudnick.

The civil lawsuit is an anti-trust action against CRRA. Cafero, former House Speaker Thomas D. Ritter and Brown Rudnick are not named as defendants or parties to the case, which arose when Hennessy failed to win a consulting contract as a \”municipal services liaison\’\’ that was held by Brown Rudnick. There were only firm\’s vying for the contract – with Brown Rudnick as the low bidder and Hennessy\’s firm as the high bidder.

Foley was roundly criticized during his testimony in favor of the bill by legislators who said that the measure was too broad. They said it would impact as many as half of all legislators, forcing them to choose between their jobs and potentially leaving the legislature.

But Foley said Tuesday that his bill would directly impact only 11 legislators  – five who receive money from state contractors, four who are paid employees of public-worker unions, and two who work for lobbying firms.

During the hearing in March, Foley was blasted harshly by three House Republicans who disagreed with the wording of Senate bill 727. Foley said the conflicts were “sleazy” and added that the ”foxes are running the henhouse” at the Capitol, which did not sit well with some legislators.

One of those protesting loudest against Foley’s testimony at a committee hearing was Rep. David Labriola, the brother of the state Republican Party chairman. Labriola and other Republicans protested that the bill was so broadly written that it would cover large numbers of employees who work at some of the largest corporations in Connecticut. Several legislators said it was so broad that it would affect half of all state legislators – potentially forcing them out of office.

“It’s absurdly broad. It’s outrageous,” Labriola told Foley at the hearing. ”It’s actually going to cover everybody – like 1 million people. … It truly is absurd. That’s my major point.”

Labriola, who is known for being low-key in the legislature, added, “It’s not appreciated or helpful to throw around words like sleazy. … I get there’s an election coming up. I don’t think it’s helpful to use that kind of bombastic language.”

The bill, as written, states that “no public official, state employee or member of the immediate family of a public official or state employee shall receive one thousand dollars or more during a calendar year” from major state contractors or a business that employs lobbyists, among others.

That language, Labriola said, would cover any legislator who has a brother, sister, parents, or children who work for places like FedEx, Yale University or Aetna insurance, which all have lobbyists at the Capitol.

While several legislators said the wording was clear, Foley said that was never the intent of the legislation. He emphasized at Tuesday\’s news conference that the bill would have no impact on state legislators who work for FedEx or whose spouses work for Yale University.

Foley pledged to rid the Capitol of conflicts of interest.

\”Let\’s clean this up,\’\’ Foley said Tuesday. \”It\’s not that hard. And it\’s the right thing to do.\’\’


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16 thoughts on “Tom Foley Says 11 Legislators – 9 Democrat, 2 GOP – Have Conflicts Of Interest; Not Giving Up on Bill; Mentions Cafero, Not Others

  1. CT Resident

    Do you think it’s any coincidence that Foley is showing up right at the beginning of the Governor’s race? He’s trying to shut down the biggest potential threat to his political ambitions – Larry Cafero. Foley is a political manipulator and, honestly, if anyone can talk about conflicts of interest, it isn’t him. This is a guy who bundled money for Bush and then took a cushy ambassadorship.

    No, as a proud Republican, I can’t support a manipulator like him. I need somebody like Cafero, who even Foley himself said, “served honorably.”

    Bottom line: Foley’s a manipulator.

  2. Ted

    Sure Foley is playing politics…but come on, Cafero is one of a kind. What other legislator has appointed board members to a state agency such as CRRA and those board appointees then award his law firm $3 million in contracts? I’m pretty sure no one else comes close.

    1. CT Resident

      He doesn’t run the firm though, Ted. He’s not a partner. He doesn’t profit. There’s no benefit to his doing that.

      1. Ted

        His law firm’s website says pretty clearly he is a partner. Either way a pretty unusual situation.

      2. Evan - Hartford

        CT Resident, the article states that Cafero is a partner. On top of that, the governor’s race is irrelevant.

        I’ve stated this in previous posts regarding this bill:

        Can anyone explain to me why this bill is a bad thing for the people of Connecticut? No?

        1. Just Curious

          Ted and Evan – your take on the article is glaringly broad. The article states that Cafero is a contract-income partner, not an equity partner. A nonequity or contract partner receives a salary but does not share ownership stakes in the firm. Big difference. Also, many of these law firms have a separate lobbying arm – which past articles have confirmed Cafero is not involved with at Brown Rudnick.

  3. Evan - Hartford

    Willing to bet that “CT Resident” works at the LOB and/or for one of the legislators that would NOT benefit from this legislation.

  4. LibertySon

    Foley certainly didn’t need a “cushy ambassadorship” (I doubt the J. Christopher Stevens would agree that the job is “cushy”). He already had more money and prestige than he earned in the service he gave as ambassador. If it’s “manipulative” to attempt to take the dirt out of being a legislator, it’s the kind of manipulation I, as a taxpayer and voter, appreciate.

  5. Ken Krayeske

    Again, why do we have to listen to Foley? I’m not sure I understand why a person who probably committed war crimes while he was with the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq should be governor. We have to come to terms as a society with our shortcomings. If we ever want justice here, we must investigate the commission of war crimes during the invasion and occupation of Iraq by bureaucrats like Mr. Foley. As much as Mr. Cafero and others with potential conflicts of interest cannot escape their past, Mr. Foley cannot escape centuries of international law leading up to the Hague Convention of 1897, which prohibited the privatization of public industries by occupying forces. That was Foley’s job under L. Paul Bremer, Henry Kissinger’s toady and Bush’s lickspittle in Mesopotamia.

    1. Quinte West

      Gee–a politician who doesn’t always tell the truth? I am stunned.
      As it relates to the possibility of war crimes committed during the past administration,I would think that if anything had occurred during the Bush administration, the current administration would be very quick to point it out and assign blame.

      1. Ken Krayeske

        Given the bi-partisan support for imperial conquest overseas (witness Malloy’s secret trips to Afghanistan), it seems unlikely that any high ranking Democrat will point out the previous Republican administration’s international transgressions. Couple that with President Obama’s war crimes (drone attacks, killing of American citizens without due process, etc), the idea of investigation and prosecution of war crimes by Democrats becomes improbable.

          1. Ken Krayeske

            They were reported after he went. He left the state secretly, his calendar blocked out with no explanation. The fact that he had a calendar makes him an improvement over his predecessor, but the cloak and dagger nature of his hike on the Afghani trail shows his buy in to the imperial mythology.

        1. Quinte West

          I heard that Malloy went overseas to start a new “First Five” initiative. One of the new start up companies is called Bedouin, Bath and Beyond….sorry, couldn’t help myself on that one.

  6. Gompers

    Foley was found to have lied before a U.S Senate committee while testifying to accept a George W. Bush ambassadorship. Foley was arrested for two road rage incidents as an adult (one involved his child) but under oath denied that he had ever been arrested. He ran the Iraq reconstruction authority which was found by a U.S. Inspector General’s investigation to be corruption ridden. It lost $8 billion in taxpayer dollars to theft. Foley just might exceed Rowland in outright corruption. Solution – declare himself an ethics crusader.

  7. Mitch Beck

    Okay… let’s cut through the BS.

    I was at the press conference and heard the entire thing. There are certain KEY things that are REALLY important that a left leaning (to be kind) newspaper like the Courant missed. I can’t say if it was done intentionally to stir trouble because it was repeated OVER and OVER again by both Mr. Foley and Mr. Markley…

    This is not a witch hunt. This is not meant to be punitive, but preventative moving forward. Both men even said that if this bill is passed, a bill I admit that I FULLY support, that these folks could be grandfathered so that they are NOT punished. The idea is a VERY simple one… let’s clean up government so that WE THE PEOPLE are protected from either actual corruption or the appearance of it.

    Both men also said that this is not intended to be the final draft of the legislation, but a starting point.

    Also sitting there, the reporters tried to get Mr. Foley to tell them who these people were. Mr. Foley told them essentially that the information was all a matter of public record that is easily obtained and that the reporters should do their own homework, and that he was NOT there to throw anyone under the bus and that by mentioning who the 11 were simply by party was to show this was NOT, as the media tried to portray it, a political hack job on Larry Cafero. It was meant NOT, to throw people under the bus, but to simply demonstrate that the problem exists and needs to be fixed.

    I posted on my FB page should someone want to look it up, the summary of the actual bill that Mr. Foley has written and Mr. Markley has sponsored. When you read it, I would find it next to impossible to see how someone could NOT support it.

    Incidentally, one other item that is KEY that the Courant does NOT mention and is really important, is that Governor Cuomo of NY is pushing forward a near identical bill in his state. I guess they forgot to put that in the story.

    Folks, I will soon be posting EXACTLY what was said in that meeting. It’s time the media started telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth…

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