Sunday, June 03, 2012

Bad timing for Donovan's campaign

For the last few days local media were abuzz with the news that House Speaker Chris Donovan's finance director was charged with accepting and trying to hide illegal contributions.

For a Congressional candidate facing a tough primary just over 2 months away, this is definitely an unfortunate twist of fate.

There is an awful lot about this story that I don't yet understand, so I'll try to stick to the facts of the criminal complaint against finance director Robert Braddock. Braddock is charged with hiding contributions to Donovan's campaign that were part of an FBI undercover sting operation, where an agent posed as a cigarette retailer trying to buy influence in the House against legislation that could tax "roll-your-own" cigarettes. In the wake of Braddock's arrest, Donovan's campaign manager Josh Nassi was fired along with Braddock.

Which casts some reasonable doubt on whether Nassi may have known something about the contribution. But whether he knew anything or not, he was the guy directly responsible for the workings of the campaign and the hiring of the staff, including probably the finance director, and he likely deserved to be let go.

BTW, this is just my opinion, and I base it solely upon the stuff I've read in the papers and blogs and on Twitter, including this gem from my ol' friendly nemesis @A_C_R, which probably will get a huge belly laugh from the Rush Limbaugh aficionados out there in the Twittersphere:
Some Donovan defenders are quite annoyed. I suspect one is wearing that naughty barbed wire bra again it always makes her so cranky.
All misogyny aside, I haven't spoken to anyone inside Donovan's campaign yet, nor will I be likely to do so until the investigation is complete. So please don't put any weight on my idle speculations.

In regards to the allegations about the tax issue, it never even made it out of the Senate, so the House had absolutely no conversation about whether a tax should be levied. This will probably work in Donovan's favor as the investigation proceeds. Donovan has also hired a former US Attorney for Connecticut Stan Twardy to look into how the alleged wrongdoing occurred.

Also, according to published reports there are connections with House Minority Leader Larry Cafero in the investigation. From CT News Junkie:
Cafero was one of a dozen lawmakers interviewed Thursday by federal investigators. During the course of their conversation, Cafero said he learned that straw donors also delivered five $1,000 checks to three House Republican PACs.

Cafero said he promptly returned the donations after being informed that they came from straw donors, but he added that he was not given an explanation as to why the donations were made and was told he was not a target of the investigation.
So, after being informed, presumably by the same agents investigating Donovan's campaign, Cafero was allowed to return the donations, no questions asked.

Sounds weird. I dunno, but it kinda makes you wonder, eh?

Look back here for more solid information, idle speculation, and wildly unfounded conjecture as the story develops. After all, nobody ever threatened to give me a Pulitzer for my journalism!

Meanwhile (remember whose blog you're reading) I just contributed to And I love using Paypal. It makes life so much easier.

Because, when he's finally vindicated of any connection with this awful situation, I absolutely want Chris Donovan to be our next congressman from Connecticut's 5th District!


tessa said...

Good for you, CT Bob, I donated more to the campaign a few days ago and felt great doing so!

(My only note is that Ralph is Rob, as in Robbing Hood.

CT Bob said...

Rob, not Ralph! Ah, fuck me. That's what I get for speed reading without taking the Evelyn Wood course! Thanks for the correction.

And Mr. Brown's email was a factor in reminding me how important it is to help a friend in a crisis. Thank him for me, please.

Terry Cowgill said...

Bob, I really think this is more than "bad timing." Either Donovan knew what was going on or he was out of the loop. Neither reflects well on him, although I'm willing to believe it was the latter.
I think the difference here is that the Republicans returned the checks, while the Donovan campaign did not do so because they had already cashed the checks. At least that's my guess.

CT Bob said...

I seriously doubt that "cashing the checks" is the issue here. And the GOP "returning the checks" probably isn't meant to be taken literally. It's not like any political organization hordes checks; they usually deposit them immediately because they all need cash flow to work.

The difference seems to be that the Feds gave the GOPers the option of returning the donations, whereas they likely caught Braddock red-handed breaking the law so they charged him. They probably didn't get any GOPers on tape scheming like Braddock allegedly did.

But yes, oftentimes candidates are completely in the dark about many aspects of fundraising, since their manager wants them to concentrate on campaigning. I've seen enough campaigns from the inside to know that usually the only thing a candidate knows about fundraising is when he has to appear at a big marquee event and shake a lot of hands. The details (and dirty deals, apparently) are left to the finance people.

It's forgivable at this point, as long as Chris was completely in the dark about this. I'm pretty sure we'll see it come out in the investigation.

West Haven Bob said...

This is how low I've sunk...I might actually vote for ROMNEY.

Obama has totally FAILED the middle class (if there still is a middle class!)

I remember waking up ill at night knowing I'll throw up...and that dread was always worse than the event; and I always worked through the illness and felt stronger after.

Let ACR and the Rethugs finish the job W.Bush and his neocon frat brothers started and totally screw up this democratic republic.

Maybe we have to hurt before we heal...

CT Bob said...

Dude, the ONLY thing that is standing between the US being at total war with Iran at this VERY moment is Obama.

Just for THAT alone, he has my vote.

And anyone who actually votes for ANY Republican, with their obstructionism and their practice of making the US fail at just about everything as a political strategy is a complete moron. (No offense.)

Obama didn't fail us...the motherfucking goddamn America-hating Republicans did!

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Chris Donovan is a television director and producer who is recognized as the long-time director of the televised Golden Globe Awards, and other television gala specials.

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Donovan, the retiring state House Speaker, won the Democratic endorsement in May but faces an August primary made tougher by the scandal. His finance director, Robert Braddock Jr., is accused of concealing the source of donations promised in return for Donovan’s killing a General Assembly bill to tax roll-your-own cigarettes.