In the weeks and even months before former Gov. John Rowland finally saw the writing on the wall back in 2004, there were multiple calls for his resignation from Democrats, Republicans and the average constituent. It wasn’t until it was clear that the feds had so much on him that he needed to cut a (ultimately sweet) deal and the state Supreme Court ruled that he had to testify in front the impeachment committee, did he resign. (I remember the day it was known that Rowland would resign. I had to call then-Senate President Kevin Sullivan to let him know his own political future would be irrevocably altered—he would become lt. governor; a role he didn’t want). Yet now in his role as a snipe-from-the-cheap-seats radio host, Rowland has no problem calling for the resignation of Department of Social Services (DSS) Commissioner Rod Bremby.
Rowland’s call for Bremby’s head comes in the wake of the investigation into possible fraud in the emergency food stamp program initiated after Tropical Storm Irene which caused extensive damage. The announcement of the food stamp program resulted in long lines outside state offices. Bremby’s DSS agency will oversee the fraud investigation.
As far as the fraud probe goes, Gov. Malloy is out in front on it as he usually is. You can tell the investigation will almost certainly be thorough, fair and complete when the first memo on it came from Malloy’s chief counsel Andrew McDonald. McDonald’s no nonsense approach to all things legal (and political) is a huge asset for the Malloy administration. In this case, McDonald wrote, “”the governor has reason to believe that many state employees will be included” in the ongoing investigation that became publicly known Sunday…we have credible information to suspect that many state employees who received the benefits did so by materially misrepresenting important information included in their applications” for food stamp benefits….In addition to severe administrative actions, any state employee found to have defrauded the state will have his or her name immediately forwarded to both the chief state’s attorney and the United States Attorney for possible criminal prosecution. Defrauding the government is a felony, and the consequences can be significant.” That’s some heavy stuff.
Because there may very well be state workers involved in fraud, Rowland pounced. His measure of a successful investigation is one that results in the firing of as many state workers are possible. In reality, if state workers defrauded the state, they’ll be fired and likely prosecuted.
Rowland’s partner, Will Marotti, aka the Compassionless Pastor, adds nothing to the conversation. His views are simplistic and scary. For example, of the Occupy Wall Street protestors, his contribution to the political discourse is, “Get a job!” Very insightful. Besides, isn’t “Get a job” kind of the OWS people’s point?
The ironic thing is that Rowland is worried about the amount of money that the alleged fraud may cost the state. Yet, he cost the state a fortune by holding on to his office as long as possible. Costs included the impeachment panel which had to have space and staff. And while Rowland pleaded guilty to a single count of “theft of honest services,” there were plenty of other charges ready to go if he didn’t resign. One would think Rowland calls defense attorney William Dow every day to thank him. If Rowland had any remorse about his actions, he might want to lay-off the calls for resignation.