By Gregory B. Hladky
3:56 PM EDT, June 19, 2013
Gov. Dannel Malloy Wednesday signed into law legislation that good government types are warning will bring "an influx of 'dark money' into our political system."
In other words, welcome back Corrupticut.
Malloy issued a statement blaming his action and that of the Democratically controlled General Assembly on the U.S. Supreme Court "Citizens United' decision that "allowed unlimited private money into politics."
The response the Democrats came up with was essentially to keep public campaign financing in place (which costs taxpayers tens of millions of dollars), and to allow political parties to take gobs of special interest money and spend unlimited amounts on Connecticut campaigns.
Malloy claims the new law will "vastly increase disclosure requirements for independent campaign expenditures."
The Connecticut League of Women Voters disagrees.
In a letter pleading with Malloy to veto the bill, League officials insist the legislation will actually roll back existing disclosure requirements to let voters know who the hell is paying for political ads.
They point out the new law eliminates an existing requirement that non-profit groups reveal their top five contributors, and allow anonymous donations to political parties up to 5,000.
"Hasn't the recent Braddock scandal yet again underscored the need for sources of clean campaign funding and disclosure in our election system?" League officials asked.
The scandal they're referring to was the conviction of Robert Braddock Jr., finance director for former state House Speaker Chris Donovan's ill-fated congressional campaign. Braddock was charged with being part of a scheme involving campaign contributions in return for killing legislation that would have hurt the profits of "Roll your own" cigarette store operators.
The federal investigation ended Donovan's campaign and has resulted in multiple guilty pleas in addition to Braddock's conviction. Donovan, of course, denies he did anything wrong.
But then, so did our felonious ex-governor-turned-radio-jock, John Rowland. (Rowland ended up in federal prison for 10 months.)
It was the Rowland scandals of the early 1990s that finally convinced Connecticut to adopt a system of using public money to pay for campaigns in an effort to limit the influence of "dark money" from special interests and lobbyists.
It was also the Rowland scandals that in large part were responsible for that lovely nickname, Corrupticut.
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