State Senate Minority Leader John McKinney stepped up his criticism of Gov. Dannel Malloy’s attendance at the White House Correspondence Dinner (WHVD) Wednesday night by saying he doesn’t believe the governor was approached with an invitation to the event. The governor’s office says Malloy received the invitation from People magazine unsolicited. The magazine paid for the governor’s trip—estimated at more $1,000—including travel, food and lodging. Ethics laws prohibit gifts worth more than $100.
McKinney Wednesday claimed that having People pay for the trip was a violation of the ethics laws. In short, McKinney claims the trip was entertainment despite the fact Malloy may have talked up the state with the rich and famous. Malloy’s office claims it was official business, part of an outreach with the governor representing the state.
In an interview with The Hanging Shad, McKinney added that “it’s not believable” that Malloy was approached with the invitation. “I don’t believe this story [that he was approached]. Somebody knew somebody and [Malloy] wanted to go. It’s a violation of the law plain and simple.”
In response to McKinney’s comments, Malloy spokesman Andrew Doba responded simply, “He’s wrong.”
McKinney’s objection to Malloy’s trip to the WHCD did shake up the governor’s office to the point of having legal counsel Luke Bronin seek a formal opinion from the state office on ethics.
McKinney says has not filed a formal complaint and doesn’t intend to. He is asking for all documents and information related to the trip.
The question remains why the governor’s office did not notify the media that Malloy would be attending such a high-profile event, out of state. If it was official business and the governor was there to promote the state, wouldn’t his office make a big deal out of it beforehand?
Malloy was dismissive when asked why there was no prior notice of his trip.