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One hates to get — what was the Obama phrase about Biden? — too far out over one’s skis, but Chris Donovan will find it difficult to rebound from this.

Just a general hint for candidates picking finance directors: pictures like this should be a warning. [Update: someone appears to have pulled Braddock’s Google Plus photo.]Finance directors are the hardest campaign spots to fill these days. The number of people who do it well and want to do it is small. Note that Braddock is “not from around here,” as they say. Sometimes campaigns aren’t choosy enough because they’re desperate.

For Donovan, this isn’t a problem. It’s five problems.

There’s also a mess-of-pottage quality to the whole thing. The campaign finance director sacrificed Donovan’s credibility for some money from the Roll-Your-Own lobby? Suddenly and for a very brief moment, Linda McMahon and Lisa Wilson-Foley look like Abe Lincoln in Chanel.

At the moment, the big winners appear to be named Roberti and Esty. Also Roraback, the candidate who could beat Roberti or Esty.

But before Tom Swan takes away Donovan’s belt and shoelaces, here are a few things worth at least thinking about:

The feds moved with uncustomary alacrity. They arrested on the last day of May for offenses committed during May? They never do that, unless it’s Phil Giordano. And they had somebody undercover? That suggests a bigger, longer investigation. I don’t know what to make of that. I’m not making  anything in particular of it.  But it means something. They usually don’t work that way. If he has any plausible claim of deniability, Donovan could benefit from this haste. If he can plausibly claim Braddock was an independent actor, he has time to reorganize and shake this off. (That seems very doubtful but not impossible.) The more probable scenario is that this pulls down the campaign right now, especially if Braddock puts his boss in the jackpot. One thing that doesn’t help is that Donovan has a lot of explaining to do and he’s a horrible explainer. In his Dankosky interview he sounded like Bullwinkle on ketamine.

This may not be the only active investigation in the district. The FEC fielded multiple complaints about Wilson-Foley. One of them came from a former FBI agent. If there’s an apparent crime or criminal conspiracy in that campaign, the same U.S. Atty. gets involved. In fact, one reason they might have moved so fast in Donovan’s case is to put a little daylight between two cases and two outcomes in the Fifth.

Some of the state’s excellent Capitol reporters might now want to go back and revisit the events of Pissy Night.  Even legislators normally in the loop were puzzled by the way everything slowed down in the final hours, when the normal mode is legislation-on-meth. There appeared to be, in particular, some kind of breakdown between House and Senate leadership. It would be worth it, I think, to ask around about that.  Did Williams and Looney get pissy because too much of the activity seemed to be dictated by Donovan fund-raising?

Even if Donovan turned out to be completely unaware of what was being done on his behalf …with people who had specific business before him…well that doesn’t look very good, does it? It makes him look clueless.

The chances that he will be sitting on a plate next to eggs and home fries by Sunday are very high.




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11 thoughts on “Whatavan?

  1. Richard

    You asked the right question: Why did the FBI target Donovan (and possibly others). It’s wasn”t a random traffic stop.

    The Plauasible Deniability thing is another problem with campaign managers. North Miami has a teflon mayor mired in corruption. His campaign manager, his nephew–you name it–they got arrested for accepting bribery money as campaign contributions. It didn’t matter. 6 weeks later Andre Pierre won re-election

  2. AndersonScooper

    Isn’t Roberti’s dad Vincent a well known fixer/power-broker? Can’t help but wonder if his fingerprints aren’t all over this….

    What did prompt the Feds to launch a set-up/sting operation? Were there prior mis-deeds?

    Clearly Co-conspirator #1 is a sleazoid, and Braddock was a desperate idiot. But who approached who, and was there ever a genuine quid pro quo? (if so, that’s clearly it for Donovan.)

    We still need to learn who these players were. A bungling campaign finance team. Or real Donovan insiders.

    It still feels like a set-up.

  3. Todd Zaino

    Nothing to see here…keep on moving folks. A dirty Democrat, where’s the news in that? The real news is that the Courant is reporting this story.

  4. Todd Zaino

    Drive by media speeding in a car
    Robert Braddock has gone too far
    Democrats taking their licks
    Up to their usual dirty tricks
    Look at Donovan’s hand in the cookie jar

    Illegal cash oh what a sin
    You’d think 20 large would give you an in
    French kissing union’s ring
    Donovan caught in a sting
    In this liberal state Chris can still win

    1. cmcenroe Post author

      Oh no, Todd. You don’t get to start taking ethics seriously. Not after all these months and months of slavish Rowland-worship.

  5. CT conservative

    It won’t benefit Roraback because he will be the nominee – Mark Greenberg will win the primary.

  6. Todd Zaino

    Colin are you really giving me flack
    I take pride in having John’s back
    You and Green breathe Courant air
    Are you two being fair
    Why continue on this old Rowland attack

  7. JW Cooper

    Todd, the “Rowland attack” is not “old.” It is new and fresh, brought about by the NEW atrocities the disgraced governor so pompously engages in.

  8. Todd Zaino

    Atrocities is such a strong word
    Being loyal doesn’t make one a nerd
    Rehashing old news
    Certainly gives me the blues
    Colin and Rick giving fairness the bird

  9. Richard

    It’s notable that Soucy is an AFSCME union official. Why would Soucy think the Donovan campaign was open to bribes and treat it so casually? Soucy didn’t seem to fear any blowback coming from a self-righteous ethics crusading Chris Donovan.

    The racketeering angle of the state public sector unions is out of control. That’s what this is all about. It’s why Walker will win big in Wisconsin again. It’s why the $4 million unions poured into Kathleen Falk’s campaign in Wisconsin led nowhere.

    IF the CT GOP had any focus we’d be looking at a Wisconsin situation where collective bargaining is redefined–not eliminated but redfeined to curtail racketeering abuses.

  10. Todd Zaino

    Once again three paragraphs from Richard beats the comments from the entire thread.

    I couldn’t agree more with your above comment.

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