This week one Connecticut politician is going back to the joint, another is trying to stay out of the joint and hundreds of others are gathering to share a joint: the joint session of the General Assembly on Wednesday.
These are crazy times in state politics. On Wednesday Connecticut’s felonious former Governor John Rowland is scheduled to stand before U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven for his second federal sentence in 10 years, this time convicted of violating federal campaign finance laws through a sham consulting contracting paid by the husband of Lisa Wilson-Foley, whom Rowland advised in her failed bid for U.S. Congress.
It’s no fun standing before Judge Arterton (I know from experience). She does not take a shine to public corruption offenses, having locked up a whole bunch of political players. For his first conviction of using his public office for personal enrichment, Rowland got off easy, 10 months. Not this time.
Meanwhile on Tuesday January 6, Three Kings Day, former Bridgeport State Senator Ernie Newton, the self-proclaimed Moses of his peeps, will go on trial in Hartford accused of falsifying $500 in campaign donations to trigger an $80,000 grant under Connecticut’s Citizens Election Program of publicly financed races. This is new territory for state prosecutors pursuing criminal charges for what Newton’s lawyer says have been handled as a civil manner historically.
The state is not accusing Newton of using public campaign funds for personal use. They claim he had campaign workers represent they made donations when they hadn’t which provided taxpayer moolah to Newton’s campaign in 2012. The judge handling the case announced the state’s case is thin, but has allowed the trial to advance.
On Wednesday, while Rowland and Newton address their issues, the business about running the state begins in earnest when the Generally Assembly convenes for the start of a six-month session. Who are these people? Well, they are the elected officials who decide how your hard-earned tax dollars will be spent. Hold on to your wallets, baby! Pols love dipping in your pockets.
It helps to pay for all those joint sessions of the General Assembly.
(top image: (c) iStock/Thinkstock)