Cafero Blows Hard, Labriola Makes Silly Demand About NU Employee Contributions

Ok, maybe it doesn’t look good. The CEO and board chairman of Northeast Utilities (NU) asks NU managers to pony up campaign contributions to the Connecticut Democratic Party to support the reelection of Gov. Dannel Malloy. But the bottom line is what Thomas May did and the $46,500 that was subsequently contributed is perfectly legal. There is no evidence Malloy or the state party solicited the money and there is no reason to return it.

Whenever the Hartford Courant’s Jon Lender pens a story as he did in the May case, the inclination is to think something illegal or nefarious is going on. There usually is. That’s simply not the case here. May thinks it would be best for his company if Malloy was reelected. He expressed that to his people and they responded with contributions.

The story is perfect Larry Cafero material. The bloviating state House minority leader let loose with his usual bluster to the Courant. He called May’s request to his managers “an absolute disgrace” and “appalling.” He said May owes everyone in sight an apology. Please. The only hope here is that we don’t have to hear from Cafero every time an issue is raised in the 2014 gubernatorial campaign. He opted not to run. So maybe he shouldn’t go ballistic over every little twist and turn. House members are captives to his rants. Spare the rest of us.

Meanwhile, state Republican Party Chairman Jerry Labriola—a likeable guy if questionably effective party chief—says Democratic Party Chair Nancy DiNardo should give back the money. He likens the situation to the contributions US Rep. Elizabeth Esty returned because there were from employees of companies regulated by her husband, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Commissioner Dan Esty.

The two situations are not analogous. Dan Esty regulates certain companies. Malloy does not. DiNardo has no reason to return the money.

It doesn’t really help things when DiNardo’s spokesman, James Hallinan, comes up with the comeback, “What’s next? Will he call on Democrats not to nominate candidates in order to give the Republicans a better chance at winning?” Real clever.

Cafero should stick a sock in it. Labriola should raise some money of his own. And Hallinan should come up with some better retorts.