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Special Election Candidate Infamous for “Pay to Play” in the 1990s

January 8, 2017 By Staff
Special Election Candidate Infamous for “Pay to Play” in the 1990s

Former state treasurer Joe Suggs is now a candidate for State Senate. He was infamous for "pay to play" fundraising as treasurer in the 1990s.

In early January, former state treasurer Joe Suggs told the Hartford Courant he’s running for State Senate in a special election:

State Sen. Eric Coleman (D-Hartford) gave up his seat to be nominated for a judgeship.

Suggs, a former statewide official, is not without controversy, though.

A 21-year old Courant article reveals Suggs became so infamous for “pay to play” fundraising that his successor had a name for it.

More from Larry Williams and Alan Levin:

An analysis of Suggs’ finance reports by The Courant shows about 160 of 1,400 contributors were owners or employees of firms with treasury contracts. Of 86 firms that did business with the treasurer, other than investment bankers, members of 46 gave about $90,000 to Suggs, accounting for 17 percent of his receipts.

That Suggs was accepting such donations became known during the campaign, and Burnham pounced on the practice, branding it the “Suggs shakedown.”

In fact, the Courant suggests, the ethical questions were so bad it cost Suggs the election.

Will these questions come back up for Suggs as he runs in the special election? Only time will tell.