Federal authorities have arrested seven individuals within the congressional campaign of the speaker of the Connecticut state house, but Chris Donovan (D) says he will not leave the race. An FBI undercover probe has revealed that members of Donovan’s campaign staff were allegedly involved in accepting over $27,000 in campaign contributions from tobacco retailers for the purpose of influencing votes to kill a “roll your own” tobacco bill in the legislature.
Some groups, however, like MoveOn, the AFL-CIO, and Connecticut Working Families Party, believe Donovan is justified in remaining in the race for the state’s 5th congressional district, and will continue to support him.
Citing that Donovan did the right thing in firing Josh Nassi, his campaign manager, Lindsay Farrell, director of the Connecticut Working Families Party, seemed to dismiss the question that everyone else in Connecticut is asking: How could Donovan not know the dealings of his campaign staff?
“It’s unimaginable that [Chris] had any knowledge of this wrongdoing,” Farrell said.
James Olson, AFL-CIO president, agreed. “I’m not bothered by the indictments,” he said. “I think we kind of expected what we’re seeing there. If Donovan’s guilty of anything, he’s guilty of having a full plate doing the business of the people of Connecticut and didn’t have time to notice this, I hate to say it, juvenile operation.”
Daniel Mintz, national director of MoveOn, praised Donovan for hiring former U.S. Attorney Stanley Twardy, to investigate his campaign following the initial arrests. Twardy found no sign of wrongdoing on Donovan’s part, though his conclusions were severely limited by the fact that he was unable to talk to several key witnesses.
“I think what we’ve seen, voters are by and large really quite happy with how Chris handled this,” Mintz said.
From these out-of-touch comments, it seems that Connecticut voters are not expected to notice the number of Donovan’s campaign staff allegedly involved in the corruption, that Donovan should be “excused” because he is the state house speaker and doesn’t have time to engage in ethical campaigning, and that those in his campaign who were indicted are not to be blamed for engaging in corrupt practices, but because they failed to do a better job of staging a professional level influence-peddling job, rather than a “juvenile operation.”
Establishment Democrats and members of the media, however, know this is serious, and they know the current all-Democrat congressional delegation from Connecticut is in trouble. Calls for Donovan to exit the congressional race before the August 14th primary are loud and clear, especially given the fact that there are several strong Republican candidates vying for the House seat.
Some Republicans, fortunately, are looking beyond the congressional campaign. These leaders are calling for Donovan to resign as house speaker as well. Legislation that Donovan has supported and pushed through is now all questionable. Taking the position, for just a moment, that Donovan failed to supervise his corrupt campaign staff, what other corruption has he “overlooked” while leading the state house?
Conservative entrepreneur Mark Greenberg, Tea Party-endorsed Republican candidate for the 5th congressional district, asserted, “These additional arrests show, at the very least, Chris Donovan’s campaign to be a corrupt operation, and the indictment also suggests the speaker may have known of this illegal activity.”
Greenberg said, “This case is not about party politics. Republicans, Democrats, and Unaffiliated voters should be outraged that our state is once again making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Donovan’s campaign has joined the list of offenders in Connecticut political corruption cases.”
Connecticut’s 5th district might just be a microcosm of the nation’s crossroads election this November. Voters of this district have a real chance to turn away from both tax-and-spend liberalism and the baggage that comes with political tyranny and corruption.