With about four and half weeks to go before Connecticut voters go to the polls, it’s getting harder to delineate the serious issues from the frivolous ones. The campaigns of both Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy (and the state Democratic Party) and Republican challenger Tom Foley (and the state Republican Party) have been slinging some nonsense at each other recently. State Dems filed a complaint with election officials over perceived coordination between Foley and a think tank he founded. State Republicans are trying to make a big deal out of some Malloy appointees who are in hot water. Both are nonissues.
Foley’s campaign got caught red-handed lifting ideas—word for word—from other sources for their “urban plan.” One of those sources is the Connecticut Policy Institute (CPI), a think tank Foley founded. Democrats on Monday filed a complaint saying the plagiarism amounts to coordination between Foley’s campaign and the CPI—a no-no even under the infamous Citizens United case.
The Dems’ complaint is a stretch at best. It only stands to reason that if Foley was going to pilfer ideas, it would be from a group he founded. It doesn’t mean the CPI is coordinating with Foley’s campaign or making an illegal campaign contribution as the complaint alleges. The Dems should have stopped with the evidence of plagiarism. That was effective enough. As Foley supporter New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said about plagiarism in another case, “If you can’t trust her honesty and her integrity when she tells you that this is her plan, why would you trust her honesty and integrity on anything else she tells you about what she’ll do for Wisconsin or about Scott’s record?…You shouldn’t trust any of it,” Christie said of the plagiarizer.
Similarly, efforts by Foley and the state GOP to make hay out of some Malloy appointees who have run into trouble are silly. The Republicans point to three cases: A deputy Dept. of Motor Vehicles commissioner who was arrested for allegedly assaulting a person under 16; the state public safety commissioner who is in a jackpot over her actions in New York; the state insurance commissioner who apparently has traveled more than Yuri Gagarin; and the biggest stretch of all, a doctor who served on Malloy’s transition team was convicted of abusing his patients.
None of these cases—with the possible exception of Commissioner Dora Schriro—can be seriously interpreted as bad acts on Malloy’s part.
The candidates should stick to the real issues—the economy, health care, education, transportation and energy. The voters would be better informed.