In today's Hartford Courant, Mark Pazniokas reports on concerns about Jim Amann's fundraising activities:
Under fire for soliciting lobbyists, House Speaker James A. Amann, D-Milford, asked the Office of State Ethics on Monday to review his $67,500-a-year job as a fundraiser for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Amann's role as a fundraiser came under renewed scrutiny last week when Republican State Chairman Chris Healy questioned Amann's solicitation of lobbyists to buy tickets to a $350-per-person benefit concert for multiple sclerosis at the Mohegan Sun.
In a letter hand-delivered Monday afternoon to the Office of State Ethics, Amann did not directly ask if his soliciting lobbyists poses a conflict of interest.
Instead, he asked Barbara Housen, the general counsel for the new ethics office, if he still can rely on an advisory opinion issued in April 2005 by Brenda Bergeron, then an attorney with the now-defunct State Ethics Commission.
It was not immediately clear if Amann's request would prompt the Office of State Ethics to comment directly on his solicitation of lobbyists.
Meredith Trimble, a spokeswoman for the ethics office, said its lawyers generally answer only the questions raised by the person requesting an advisory opinion.
Amann's aides said the speaker considered Bergeron's opinion to address the broad question of any solicitation he made on behalf of the society.