To CT GOP: Fundraising? That’s the Best You’ve Got?

The next gubernatorial election is a year away and the Connecticut Republican Party is sharpening its rhetoric and foreshadowing just what issues on which they will confront the governor. So where is Gov. Malloy vulnerable? The still-struggling economy? Lack of job creation? Instituting Keno? The governor’s tepid response to the lunacy that has become UConn? The untested multimillion-dollar busway that’s wreaking havoc on Hartford? No. The state GOP is complaining that Malloy is raising money and his friends are looking out for him. In a twist on Captain Renault in Casablanca, “I’m shocked! Shocked to find that Malloy and his party are raising money!”

The State Elections Enforcement Commission is investigating two complaints; one from the state GOP alleging Malloy solicited contributions to the state Democratic Party from some bigwig state contractor and another from some failed state representative candidate from Newington charging that Malloy has been running a stealth campaign that has spent money on his behalf without forming the required candidate committee.

The first complaint may in fact have some substance to it. The problem is the evidence is a tweet. (There it is again—that Twitter is nothing but trouble.) A California Democratic congressional candidate tweeted a thank you to the state contractor for hosting Malloy in California. If Malloy did hit up the contractor for some green, it could be troublesome. There’s no way to know for sure.

The second complaint is a joke. Ben Ancona of Newington complained that Malloy is raising and spending money like a candidate without forming the proper committee or submitting the proper paperwork. Malloy maintains he is not yet a candidate and therefore not required to jump through the hoops yet.

Ancona points to a poll done by Global Strategies, the firm run by Roy Occhiogrosso, Malloy’s main confidante. The survey was commissioned by the education reform group ConnCAN. It asked about Malloy and his policies on education. Ancona seems to think the poll was actually done to measure Malloy’s reelection chances.

The allegation is laughable. Any poll by an advocacy group that relies on Malloy’s policies that does not ask about the governor and the job he’s doing would be a big, fat waste of money.

Ancona also charges that in essence, all the work Occhiogrosso has done at Global since leaving the Malloy administration has been to further Malloy’s reelection. No one would ever confuse me with an Occhiogrosso apologist but Ancona’s charge here would probably come as a big surprise to Global’s other clients.

Further, since when is someone precluded from their First Amendment right to free speech just because they are friends with the governor? Occhiogrosso, like any other citizen, has the right to support the governor, advocate for his reelection or defend him if he deems it appropriate.

The state GOP better learn quickly that unless the governor is breaking the law, no one cares about fundraising. They care about jobs, education and their own financial situation. Right now, the state Republican Party is proving inept in choosing issues on which they should confront Malloy. If they don’t like the way the governor is raising money, maybe they should stop whining and raise some more themselves.