An FBI undercover investigation led to the arrest on Wednesday of Robert Braddock, Jr., the finance director for Connecticut State House Speaker Christopher Donovan’s congressional campaign. Braddock has been charged with conspiring to hide campaign contributions of approximately $20,000 associated with alleged influence-buying at the state capitol of Hartford. According to the arrest warrant documents, the contributions were made in efforts to kill legislation that would have imposed new fees and taxes on certain types of tobacco retailers.
Chris Donovan, a far-left liberal who is a favorite of public sector unions in Connecticut, is running for the state’s 5th congressional district seat, which will be vacated by Rep. Chris Murphy (D-CT), the likely Democratic candidate running to fill the U.S. Senate seat left behind by retiring Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT). Donovan is the Democrat party-endorsed candidate for the 5th district seat, though he remains in a primary fight. As state House Speaker, Donovan helped to advance the most liberal legislative agenda and largest tax increase in the history of Connecticut over the past two years.
Though, to date, no mention of changes to his campaign appears on his website, Donovan said, in a statement on Thursday, that Braddock has been terminated, along with campaign manager, Josh Nassi. His new campaign manager, Tom Swan, of the Connecticut Citizen Action Group, a group that says its mission is social, economic, and environmental justice, told the press, without Donovan’s presence, that the state House speaker will temporarily relinquish some of his duties as speaker, but that he intends to remain a congressional candidate. In addition, his campaign has hired a former U.S. attorney, Stanley Twardy, Jr., to conduct an internal investigation.
Governor Dannel Malloy (Democrat, Working Families Party) has already distanced himself from the allegations and Donovan. “These allegations are despicable,” he said. “While I am encouraged that the Speaker is cooperating with the investigation, his position requires that he give our residents a full explanation of what he knows.”
According to long-time Connecticut conservative political observer Dan Lovallo, “Connecticut House Speaker Christopher Donovan’s 5th district congressional campaign is finished…there is no way he survives this.” Recalling another recent Connecticut political scandal, Lovallo went on to say:
Any hopes Democrats have of keeping the seat now rest with Donovan off the ticket and even then, their chances of winning it are reduced, especially if Republican Party convention endorsed candidate CT-Sen. Andrew Roraback wins the GOP Aug. 14 primary. Taking nothing away from the other Republican challengers, Roraback has the name recognition and a legislative background that comes with a pristine resume. One can almost hear David Axelrod making the call to Donovan right now, saying, “Chris, it’s time to ride off into the sunset.” Or has everyone forgotten when another Chris, incumbent Sen. Chris Dodd was given the heave-ho in favor of Richard Blumenthal, with the whiff of scandal hovering around his head?