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State House Minority Leader Larry Cafero may be trying to position himself as Connecticut’s version of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie—blunt, plain spoken, harsh and hyperbolic. That’s a logical explanation for why he said of a now-convicted felon who tried to give him illegal campaign contributions back in 2012, “In hindsight…I’d kill him, I’d kill him.” The difference is, Christie will be reelected governor of his state while Cafero has no chance of being governor of his even though he is considering a run.
The New Haven Register’s Mary O’Leary reports Cafero continues to try to extricate himself from the problems that come with being videotaped by the FBI investigating corruption in the General Assembly last year.
Corrections union bigwig Ray Soucy and two men from a roll-your-own tobacco shop visited Cafero’s capitol office in March in 2012. Soucy was engaged in an illegal effort to try to kill a bill that would negatively affect such tobacco shops by making illegal campaign contributions to lawmakers. Soucy tried to give Cafero a $5,000 “campaign contribution.” (To add a little cloak-and-dagger drama to the story, Soucy claims he left $5,000 in Cafero’s Capitol office refrigerator. Cafero calls that a lie and the FBI recording doesn’t show Soucy doing it.)
There are two strange things about Cafero’s story. First, he said when Soucy tried to make a $5,000 cash “contribution” to what Cafero claims he thought was to the House Republican Campaign Committee political action committee, he stopped him and told an aide to figure out how the sum could be contributed legally (Cafero later returned the money, donated in five $1,000 checks under other people’s names). The question remains: Why didn’t Cafero call the cops, the FBI or other law enforcement the minute Soucy tried to give him $5,000 in cash? Instead, he assigned an aide to make the money legal.
Secondly, Soucy was accompanied by the two men from a roll-your-own tobacco shop when he tried to give Cafero the money. He said in the interview, he “never, never, never on a stack of Bibles on my kids’ lives” made a connection between the money Soucy wanted to donate to the political action committee and the roll-your-own tobacco people. “… we’re meeting all the leaders,” Cafero said they told him.
So, Cafero contends that he made no connection between roll-your-own guys visting with Soucy; Soucy trying to give him $5,000 in cash and the roll-your-own legislation that was still pending in the legislature. Cafero is a very bright guy. So what did he think the purpose of the visit was, to talk about the state polka bill?
Cafero seems genuinely upset about the whole situation and what he describes as the hurt it caused his family. That explains why he calls Soucy “…a son of a bitch,” and euphemistically wished he had killed him.
I’ll take Cafero at his word about the Soucy encounter but the whole situation dooms any chance for a run for governor if there was any chance to begin with.