Tuesday January 29
The rule in the state Capitol is that you’re not supposed to do politics on state time. Remember back in 2004, when Gov. Jodi Rell suspended her top aide, Lisa Moody, for two weeks after she gave invitations to state commissioners at a staff meeting?
Many, many Capitol employees take out time during lunch or coffee breaks and get on their cell phones to work on campaigns.
But Rell and Lt. Gov. Mike Fedele straddled the line yesterday, when they used Rell’s state-funded Capitol letterhead to promote U.S. Sen. John McCain’s presidential bid.
Today, Nancy DiNardo, state Democratic chairwoman, cried foul.
“I am disappointed that, once again, the governor has seen fit to blur the line between public service and politics. Her use of the resources of the Governor’s office – resources that every hard-working citizen of this state puts at her disposal for use in governing for the benefit of all – constitutes yet another example of Governor Rell’s propensity to act in a manner that is politically expedient rather than right. I think that many of us have grown weary of her habit of paying lip service to the ethical rules that apply to all elected officials in our State and her simultaneous abuse of the privileges of her office. We demand that Gov. Rell apologize for making a political and very personal endorsement at the expense of every citizen of Connecticut. These types of actions are not only unfair to those of us who disagree with her political views – they are unfair to us all.”
Chris Cooper, Rell’s spokesman, said Tuesday that reporters had been asking Rell for weeks over which GOP hopeful she would support on Super Duper Tuesday next week.
“If this were Jodi Rell, a state representative from Brookfield, that would be one thing,” Cooper said. “In her capacity as governor she was repeatedly asked by members of the media and she gave her response as governor. If she were not the governor she would not have been asked.”
Jeff Garfield, executive director and chief counsel of the State Elections Enforcement Commission, said Tuesday that Rell action is not addressed in state law.
“Very succinctly, the election law does not cover the situation that Nancy DiNardo is complaining about,” Garfield said. “We have no authority.”
Chris Healy, chairman of the Republican State Central Committee, said Tuesday that Democrats seem to enjoy plenty of “flex time” when it comes to politics during business hours.
“There is no comparison between one slip of paper to the countless hours of taxpayer-financed politicking by both Comptroller Nancy Wyman and Attorney General Blumenthal,” Healy said. “Both Wyman and Blumenthal spend more time mugging for the cameras than managing their offices.”
Capt. Renaud was “shocked” that gambling going on in Rick’s Cafe in the classic “Casablanca.” We’re equally shocked that Rell was on state time and using state letterhead to plug for McCain.