Connecticut Speaker Scandal: The End of One-Party Rule?
A state correction officer and labor union official has been identified as a primary figure in the federal investigation leading up to the arrest, on Wednesday, of Connecticut state House Speaker Chris Donovan’s congressional campaign finance director. According to the Hartford Courant, Ray Soucy of Naugatuck, a corrections supervisor and politically active Democrat who held a position on the board of directors for the AFL-CIO, was not named specifically in the documents filed in association with the arrest of Robert Braddock, Jr.
Soucy, however, is reportedly the individual named in the affidavit as “CC-1,” sources close to the investigation have revealed. The abbreviation, “CC-1,” suggests that Soucy is the first of three co-conspirators in the scandal that could end the political career of Donovan. Many believed Donovan would succeed Rep. Chris Murphy (D) in the state’s 5th district congressional seat.
The FBI and federal prosecutors are alleging that Braddock and co-conspirators worked to disguise the source, believed to be tobacco retailers, of about $20,000 worth of contributions to Donovan's campaign for the purpose of buying influence. According to the prosecution affidavit, information about the stated conspiracy was obtained in early April by the FBI via secret recordings of conversations between “CC-1” and an undercover agent. The FBI ultimately confronted “CC-1” with the recorded conversations and persuaded him to cooperate with them by permitting further recorded conversations about illegal contributions between himself and members of Donovan’s campaign staff.
Following Braddock’s arrest, Donovan formally dismissed him, as well as his campaign manager, Josh Nassi, who declined to comment on the scandal. On Friday, Donovan dodged a press conference focused on the scandal, sending his newly hired campaign manager, Tom Swan, of the Connecticut Citizen Action Group, instead, to provide a statement. Swan indicated that, while Donovan would not officially step down as state House Speaker, he would temporarily put aside some of his duties associated with an upcoming special legislative session, and would also continue his congressional campaign. Despite the fact that Donovan was urged to speak to citizens about the scandal, even by fellow Democrats, he evaded questions from the press throughout the weekend, though he took time to attend a union event Friday evening.
Donovan finally scheduled a press conference for Sunday evening at 6:30 p.m. Late to appear, he declined to discuss the corruption investigation, save to say he was "shocked" to hear about Braddock's arrest. Donovan denied any knowledge of the alleged illegal campaign contributions. He said his supporters "have told me to fight on, and I will."
Since the scandal broke, Soucy has resigned from his two union jobs. Braddock has been released on $100,000 bond, and his attorneys claim he is innocent.