Rick: “How can you close me up? On what grounds?”
Captain Renault: “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here! [a croupier hands Renault a pile of money]”
Croupier: “Your winnings, sir.”
Captain Renault: [sotto voce] “Oh, thank you very much.”
The above famous quote from Casablanca has come to mind in recent days as the drip, drip, drip of scandal emerges from the latest Connecticut political disgrace.
A major development occurred last week when Speaker Chris Donovan’s newly hired campaign manager assured us all that Donovan did nothing wrong. Well-known political operative Tom Swan stood in front of the podium provided by the legislature (the taxpayers) and told us he looked into Donovan’s eyes and was assured the Speaker and congressional candidate. Oh, well, if Tom Swan says Donovan did nothing wrong, that’s good enough for me. Let’s dispense with the investigation and move on.
The reaction that poured in—who it came from and how harsh it was—was very telling.
• Gov. Malloy called the charges “despicable” and urged Donovan to get out and answer every question. That’s rather harsh from a fellow Democrat. But we must not forget there is no love lost between Malloy and Donovan. Many times the point of contention involves the unions. Now that labor has its hands all over Donovan’s troubles, Malloy is smiling broadly.
• Senate leaders Don Williams and Marty Looney gave us (a day late) the boilerplate “the charges are serious, we hope Donovan addresses it…yadda, yadda, yadda.”
• Republican leaders reacted very differently. Sen. John McKinney (highly respected by The Shad) said Donovan should resign as Speaker. Rep. Larry Cafero said it was “premature” to call for Donovan’s ouster. Hmmm. McKinney is a staunch Republican but thoughtful about such serious matters. Cafero is a bloviating gas bag of the worst kind—and he’s the cautious one? We later learned why Cafero was hesitant. The FBI had its funny money in Cafero’s PAC as well.
• Donovan’s campaign people had the gall to shoot back at his congressional primary opponents. One staffer said candidate Dan Roberti was “playing politics” by weighing in on this issue. Is he kidding? The Donovan campaign has apparently been playing illegal politics.
In any event, Donovan is willing to step back from his duties as Speaker but not willing to suspend his campaign. Makes one wonder about Donovan’s priorities.