The money game

Once again demonstrating that power, more so than ideology, attracts political contributions, the Connecticut Democrat Party continues to outpace their Republican counterparts. The Democrats, not coincidentally, control both chambers of the legislature, the governor's chair, all five congressional districts and Connecticut's two U.S. Senate positions.

The Connecticut Mirror, citing Federal Elections Commission filings, reports that since the start of the two-year election cycle Jan. 1, 2013, Democrats have raised $2.3 million to $648,036 for the Republicans.

Of the $1.7 million in itemized individual donations sent to Democrats, 36 percent came from deep-pocket donors who wrote maximum allowable $10,000 checks, the Internet news site reports. Only 27 percent of Republican donations came from such whales giving the max, for a total of $451,773.

The Mirror also notes that a political action committee at Walt Disney Productions gave Democrats $5,000, while six executives at Disney-owned and Bristol-based ESPN donated $3,000 collectively, during the last reporting period. Three executives at Blue Sky Studios, which has its animation studios in Greenwich, gave $4,000.

Both Blue Sky and ESPN have received state aid to expand operations in Connecticut.

The point is, while Republicans might advocate business friendly policies on labor, taxes and regulation, the primary motive for many executives is giving to people with influence. Republicans don't have a lot of it in Connecticut right now.

There is too much money in politics, but the conservative majority on the Supreme Court made it more difficult to control with the Citizens United decision. All appears legal in the push by Democrats to fill their pre-election coffers.

Republicans had claimed that Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, instrumental in the ability of Democrats to build the big campaign account, violated state rules by soliciting a state contractor for donations during a trip to California last fall. Earlier this month the State Elections Enforcement Commission voted unanimously to dismiss the complaint, finding no evidence the state contractor, Lenny Mendonca, whose global management consulting firm has done millions of dollars of work for the state, was solicited for donations by Gov. Malloy or contributed. His company did host a policy forum the governor attended on the trip.

The commission must continue watching closely to assure that in using this massive account accumulated under federal campaign rules, Democrats do not run afoul of Connecticut's more stringent state campaign-spending regulations.

The editorial board is composed of the publisher and four journalists of varied editing and reporting backgrounds. The board's discussions and information gained from its meetings with political, civic, and business leaders drive the institutional voice of The Day, as expressed in its editorials. The editorial department operates separately from the newsroom.


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