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Is a Union Lobbyist Improperly Helping Dems Raise Money for Reelection?

April 4, 2018 By Staff
Is a Union Lobbyist Improperly Helping Dems Raise Money for Reelection?

Screenshots shared with Reclaim Connecticut suggest a lobbyist for a union is improperly soliciting for donations that would help two Democratic state representatives win reelection.

A registered lobbyist for the Uniformed Professional Fire Fighters Association (UPFFA) of Connecticut, a union, has shared solicitations for two Democratic state representatives on Facebook in the last several days, a possible violation of Connecticut’s campaign finance laws.

Screenshots shared with Reclaim Connecticut show that Rick Hart, who’s a registered “communicator lobbyist” for the UPFFA as of April 2018, shared contribution solicitations for State Rep. Michelle Cook (D-Torrington) and State Rep. Liz Linehan (D-Cheshire) on Facebook on March 30 and April 2, respectively.

Guidance from the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) in February 2018 reminded candidates for office and lobbyists that “campaign contributions and the solicitation of such contributions by registered lobbyists” is prohibited during the General Assembly’s session.

There are two different sets of provisions that apply to registered lobbyists: [the first is] a temporary “sessional” contribution and solicitation ban while the General Assembly is in session that applies to all individuals or entities that are registered with the Office of State Ethics as either a “client lobbyist” or a “communicator lobbyist” and political committees established by or on behalf of such lobbyists[.]

Cook and Linehan are up for reelection in 2018, as is every member of the state legislature. Given the political mix of both Torrington and Cheshire, those two seats will be key in the fight over control of the state legislature.

Of course, the man in charge of House Democrats is also close with unions: Speaker Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin) is an employee of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).