The Hartford Courant has joined in the ranks of those disgusted by the conduct of Senator Tom Gaffey in attaining a $1 billion bonding package for the Connecticut State University System.
The Senator used his powerful positions on the Education and Higher Education committees to secure the funds. Gaffey allegedly merged political goals and genitalia with SCUS legislative liaison Jill Ferraiolo, a relationship that was kept secret from the rest of the Senate and the public.
The Courant says of Gaffey's lame defense of his actions: "This argument is not persuasive. Ms. Ferraiolo's job is to influence lawmakers on her employer's behalf. The 10-year, $950 million bonding authorization is one of the largest bonding projects in Connecticut history, and taxpayers are entitled to have confidence that lawmakers are thinking clearly and protecting the public's interests when handing out millions of dollars in public funds."
The Courant correctly points out that this remarkable conflict of interest is obvious and Gaffey should have known better: "Mr. Gaffey has caused his own judgment to be called into question. His relationship with Ms. Ferraiolo is a conflict of interest and clear grounds for his removal from the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee. His conduct is also grounds for censure by the Senate."
I could not agree more. The Connecticut Senate may not be the most dignified hall of power, but it deserves better than being led around by the nose by a romantically stunted Lothario.
Senator Don Williams does not agree. He believes that there is nothing wrong here and has flatly refused to even examine the issue.
This is a symptom of the institutional abuse of power by Democrats. They were pleased to investigate John Rowland and Lou DeLuca. However, Democrats Ernie Newton, Jefferson Davis, Barnaby Horton, Donnie Sellers, Edwin Garcia, were never in any real danger of their own chambers calling hearings on them. They faced legal consequences, while Rowland and DeLuca faced both.
The legislature also naturally refused to look into Jim Amann's abuse of his position in squeezing money out of capitol lobbyists for his job with the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
It always gets swept under the rug with these people.