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The Silence of Nancy DiNardo.

Erratic Connecticut Democratic party chair Nancy DiNardo is at it again. The Trumbull Democrat has been spewing unsubstantiated charges against Republican gubernatorial Tom Foley over the indictment of felonious former governor John G. Rowland for alleged campaign finance violations. DiNardo says Foley has some explaining to do over support he received from Rowland in the former ambassador’s search for delegates in his 2010 campaign for the Republican nomination for governor.

DiNardo has had nothing to say, however, about a chilling connection that ought to have her on the warpath. Rowland raised money for U.S. Senator Christopher Murphy (D-CT) in his 2008 campaign for re-election to the House of Representatives from Connecticut’s 5th District. DiNardo let the mask slip last year when she proclaimed her political philosophy: “In politics, nobody does something for nothing.” Jon Lender’s Government Watch column from 2008 ought to have DiNardo issuing screeds at regular intervals.

Here’s the column:

  When Republican Gov. John G. Rowland faced impeachment in 2004 for accepting favors from state contractors, state Sen. David Cappielloof Danbury was among the first members of the governor’s party to say he should resign. Cappiello’s stand seemed vindicated when Rowland was forced to quit and then went to prison in 2005. But in Rowland’s home Waterbury area, close associates grumbled that it was a betrayal they wouldn’t forget. Four years later, it looks as if they haven’t. Cappiello now is the Republican 5th District congressional nominee. But the Republican ex-governor isn’t helping him and, in fact, Rowland is quietly trying to raise campaign money for Cappiello’s Democratic opponent, incumbent U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy of Cheshire. In a Sept. 12 e-mail a copy of which found its way to The Courant,  Rowland urged friends and political associates to attend a fundraising reception for Murphy, at $250 a pop, this coming Tuesday at the Roma Ristorante in Oakville. “We want to have a good Waterbury turnout,” Rowland wrote. “Please let us know if you can attend.” The list of e-mail recipients included some familiar Waterbury-area family names such as Cicchetti, Mengacci and Sousa, that were attached to top state appointments or lucrative contracts during Rowland’s years as governor, and even now. Even if anyone claims it makes political sense for Waterbury business types to back the incumbent, it’s clear that a big motivator for the Rowland crowd is payback, said a veteran state Republican operative, adding that Cappiello “is dead to them.” 

    Asked about this, Cappiello said simply: “I have no comment. Rowland did not return a call from The Courant. Murphy met with Rowland and other constituents during the summer at Domar’s, a restaurant and political watering hole in Waterbury, but “it wasn’t a fundraiser or a planning session for a fundraiser,” said his campaign manager, Kenny Curran. He said he was unaware of Rowland’s efforts to promote the fundraiser, but noted that Murphy and Rowland “are on the same side now in trying to bring back a city that is desperately in need of help.” Out of prison since 2006, Rowland is back on his feet now that influential allies have installed him in a controversial, taxpayer-funded economic development promotion job at Waterbury’s chamber of commerce. One of his longtime friends, Waterbury lawyer Gary B. O’Connor, is hosting Tuesday’s Murphy fundraiser. O’Connor is a registered Democrat, but goes way back politically with Rowland. In 1995, Rowland’s first year as governor, a political action committee cofounded by O’Connor announced plans, later dropped because of legal questions, to pay for a Rowland advertising campaign against state employee pay raises. Murphy is not the sort of conservative-edged candidate Rowland has favored in the past. On his campaign website, Murphy calls himself a “strong advocate for ethics reform” and bemoans Washington’s “culture of cronyism” in recent years. He says he wants to “tackle government corruption” and remove “private money … from the political process.” And now Rowland, who presided over a “culture of corruption,” according to his successor, Gov. M. Jodi Rell, is helping to round up private money for the youthful Democrat with the reformer’s image.