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Congressional Campaign to Hinge on the Definition of “Lobbyist”?

August 13, 2018 By Staff
Congressional Campaign to Hinge on the Definition of “Lobbyist”?

Ruby Corby-O'Neill is calling Rich Dupont a "lobbyist and Washington insider." A source close to DuPont is saying Corby-O'Neill is lying, because DuPont has never been a lobbyist.

One of the key arguments for Republican Ruby Corby-O’Neill – in the home stretch of her campaign for the GOP nomination for the Fifth Congressional District seat – is that one of her opponents, Rich DuPont, is a “lobbyist.” A review of lobbying records by Reclaim Connecticut, though, finds no evidence DuPont has ever been a lobbyist at the state or federal level.

Corby-O’Neill is calling Dupont a lobbyist in a mailer – provided to Reclaim Connecticut by a source close to the DuPont campaign – and in YouTube videos.

In a press release sent last week, Corby-O’Neill’s campaign called DuPont a “self-proclaimed lobbyist.”

A spokesman for Corby-O’Neill confirmed the campaign used a comment DuPont made months ago to assert he’s a lobbyist. That came from a Danbury News-Times profile of DuPont published in June:

Although he has never run for office before, he argues he has almost 20 years lobbying and in negotiations that make up for his lack of experience in the every day grind of politics.

Reclaim Connecticut could not identify DuPont in state lobbying records dating back to 2011, though, or in federal lobbying records gathered by OpenSecrets. The DuPont campaign source Reclaim Connecticut spoke to said DuPont has never been a registered lobbyist.

Corby-O’Neill’s campaign stood by their claims – because of the News-Times article, they said. A spokesman pointed Reclaim Connecticut to another recent release by the Corby-O’Neill campaign, on DuPont’s failure to file a personal financial disclosure with the House Ethics Committee as of late July 2018.

Still, the use of the term “lobbyist” for DuPont, which he is not – versus the understanding of the verb “lobby” – may already be influencing voters in the Fifth Congressional District.