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The Klarides Deception. Two House Republican Campaign Committees Paid $24k in Legal Fees in December.

The federal investigation was over. There was nothing to it. That was the party line spouted by state Representative Themis Klarides in her bid to become the leader of the House Republicans after November’s legislative elections. Klarides and her puppet master, outgoing beleaguered leader Lawrence Cafero, insisted that a federal criminal investigation into House Republican campaign practices was an illusion. No one seems to have been able to obtain a clearance letter from the feds.

While Klarides and Cafero were herding the caucus sheep in her contest against Jason “Mittens” Perillo, the House Republican Campaign Committee (HRCC) was incurring $18,400.48 more in legal fees to the Hartford firm of Shipman & Goodwin between October 27th and December 23rd, when the hefty payment was made, according to campaign finance records. Legal fees consumed more than a third of the committee’s expenditures during the reporting period.

New Friends PAC, another Republican committee under scrutiny, paid $6,113.82 to Shipman & Goodwin on December 15th for “legal and data assistance.” That represented more than half of the campaign committee’s expenses.

House Republican caucus members may want to ask their leaders why so much of their scarce campaign resources was spent on legal fees. That’s money that could have been spent on campaigns. HRCC ended the year with a paltry $4,577.60 on hand as 2014 ended.  New Friends had just over $2,000 left.

February 27, 2015   2:00 pm   Comments Off

Column: Parole Board Betrays Fallen Officer and Public Interest in 17 Minute Hearing.


This column of a brief January 9th parole board hearing will astound you. By a 2-1 vote, the board decided to release from prison Gary Castonguay, who in 1977 executed Plainville police officer Robert Holcomb. This is not justice.


February 27, 2015   11:01 am   Comments Off

Committee Drops Proposal to Regulate Grassroots Speech as Lobbying.

Rockwell Lobbyist

The Connecticut legislature’s Government Administration and Elections Committee rejected a bid by the state’s ethics agency to smother the public’s right to petition its government. The ethics proposal would have required people engaged in “grassroots lobbying” (commonly known as citizens exercising their free speech rights) to register as lobbyists. The bill, S.B. 850 was reported out of the committee this week without the offending language.

Score one for freedom over the grasping bureaucracy.

February 26, 2015   11:35 am   Comments Off

Hyperbole Flashback: Back9 Unveils Headquarters. Malloy: “We Are Very Proud of It.”

A festival of Democratic notables toasting the tossing away other people’s money.

February 24, 2015   1:31 pm   Comments Off

OPM Fail. Budget Details Still a Mystery Six Days After Malloy Speech.

Connecticut’s “permanent fiscal crisis” is taking a mighty toll on Office of Policy and Management Secretary Benjamin Barnes. The budget czar has not been able to get the details of the $40 billion two year spending plan to legislators and the public. The absence of details is proving a serious hurdle for people trying to craft a reaction and testimony to the proposal unveiled by Democratic Governor Dannel P. Malloy.

As of Tuesday morning, February 24th, the details of the document were not available on the OPM website. Capitol village denizens are muttering that transparency has become an early casualty in Malloy’s second term. Others are beginning to doubt Barnes’ competency to lead on basic tasks, such as providing details of the budget that Malloy hip-hoorayed and ballyhooed on Wednesday but has kept shrouded from scrutiny for a week.

February 24, 2015   11:37 am   Comments Off

Republicans Elect Stravato Vice Chair of State Central Committee in Rebuke to Boughton.

Danbury mayor Mark Boughton has spent months trying to manipulate state Republican affairs since November’s host of party defeats. The two-time gubernatorial hopeful could not, however, get his horse across the finish line first in this evening’s contest to fill a vacancy in the vice chairmanship of the state party committee.

Boughton took the floor at the Hartford meeting to nominate Old Lyme’s Margaret Jane Derisio to fill the vacancy. She lost 37-32.5 in the second round of voting to tea party-leaning Annalisa Stravato of Wilton.

State central committee members will elect their leaders to full terms in June.

February 23, 2015   8:18 pm   Comments Off

Back9 Done. Malloy Favorite Runs Out of Money and Myths.

The business development staff was not up to the job and proved one of many disappointments. The Back9Network, a louche golf network, has suspended operations. The high-profile Hartford entity received $5 million in public funds on its tumultuous path to shutting down.

Memo to former staffers: If you saw something, say something.

Read more in the Courant here.

February 23, 2015   11:17 am   Comments Off

Column: Connecticut Offers Plenty of Chances to Avoid Convictions and Incarceration.

Here’s a link to my Hartford Courant column on the many programs available in Connecticut that allow criminal defendants to avoid conviction, a record and incarceration. The state’s system provides many more than two chances to most defendants before they risk a conviction. Incarceration is an even more distant prospect on a first, second or third offense.

February 20, 2015   12:17 pm   Comments Off

Markley to Unveil Plan for Connecticut at Mountaintop Mansion.

State Senator Joe Markley (R-Southington) will kick away any pretense to everyman appeal when the Republican party chairman hopeful reveals his plan for Connecticut at the astounding Chase mansion on Avon mountain. The weekend event is invitation only for members of the beleaguered party’s state central committee. Some of Markley’s colleagues in the legislature are expected to attend. Parking will be plentiful.

Markley can expect to be the most conservative contender in the contest to rescue the state Republican organization from the wobbly clutches of incumbent Jerry Labriola.

The 72-member state central committee elects its leaders in June. Jockeying for the chairmanship began immediately after last November’s election, which proved a disappointment for Republicans and highlighted Labriola’s failures as chairman.

February 20, 2015   12:07 pm   Comments Off

Ravi Shankar Arrested Again. Prison Poet Nabbed Month After Arrest for Fleeing Accident Scene.

Central Connecticut State University poetry professor Ravi Shankar was arrested on January 15th for operating a motor vehicle while his license was under suspension. The alleged incident occurred on December 19th, according to online court records.

Shankar was arrested in December for fleeing the scene of an accident, several months after he was promoted to a full professorship at CCSU while serving time in prison on other charges.

Shankar was in court in New Britain today on the most recent charge. Others are pending in New Britain.


February 19, 2015   3:39 pm   Comments Off