Friday, January 16, 2009

Another Day Another Ethics Investigation In Hartford

Senator Gaffey is being investigated for Double billing his expenses.

The Courant reports:
A veteran Democratic state senator double-billed the state and his own political action committee for thousands of dollars’ worth of expenses for travel and posh hotels over a four-year period, state records show.

The commission's investigators also have questioned the fact that Gaffey allowed his girlfriend, Patricia Murphy, to use a cellphone on his PAC's account for an extended period until they broke up in 2007, Gaffey acknowledged. He said he paid for her "nominal" calls on the phone.

The questions surround flights to several legislative conferences and stays in hotels from about 2004 to 2007 — at times with Murphy — for which he solicited and received reimbursements from the state's legislative management office and his PAC.

For example, Gaffey was reimbursed $613 by the legislative management office for three days in August 2006 at the luxury Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn., during a National Conference of State Legislators annual meeting — and he got $1,015 from his PAC for the same hotel stay....

Other questions arose concerning similar billings to both the PAC and the state for trips to political events such as national legislators' conferences in cities that included Salt Lake City and Seattle.

The expenses apparently amount to several thousand dollars, Gaffey acknowledged Thursday. ....

“This was not intentional,” he said. “There were a number of trips that just got by me. … I feel very badly about it. It’s embarrassing.”
It's more than embarrassing Senator, it's fraud, and it looks like you have a nasty habit of repeating it.

No doubt his trusty aide who helps him file his papers didn't have a clue either.

But we all know this will be viewed as "just another "oversight", and this will be swept under the carpet with the rest of his indiscretions.
In 2002, it was revealed that he and another state legislator, then employed by the trash agency, collected state legislators' mileage reimbursements for their trips to and from their homes to Hartford in trash agency vehicles, but had lagged thousands of dollars behind in reimbursing the trash agency for their personal mileage on the same vehicles.

In addition, Gaffey received some unwelcome attention about a year ago when Courant columnist Kevin Rennie revealed that Gaffey was having an affair, confirmed in e-mails, with Connecticut State University System legislative liaison Jill Ferraiolo while he aggressively pushed a billion dollars in bonds for the university system. Rennie also wrote that Gaffey had long made incomplete disclosures on the use of the PAC credit card.
Give us all a break.

He sure has done his constituents proud.

There sure is a reason why this State is known as "Corrupticut"
I thought Governor Rell was supposed to eliminate this type of thing from our Capitol Steps, but it looks like all Sen. Gaffey will do is apologize - pay a fine - and continue on.

Of course if he were a Republican - he'd be hounded and forced to resign. The double standard is obvious.

Just another day in Hartford.


John said...

I'm certainly not going to stand up and defend what was criminal negligence at best, but where are you getting this double standard business!?!?

And I hope DeLuca is not your example -- there is a difference between small scale fraud, and conspiring with mobsters.

Judy Aron said...

No - DeLuca specifically is not "my example" - however breaking the law is breaking the law and unethical behavior is still unethical behavior - especially if often repeated. Sen. Gaffey has shown many instances of unethical behavior.

Gee...I didn't know we were only considering "levels or degrees of badness". You suggest Gaffey gets a pass because he didn't conspire with mobsters or do anything worse? Therein lays the problem we have in our government.

Slap on the wrist for Tom, now go out and play.

John said...

"degrees of badness" is what our american legal system is about. the rule of law demands that we (as a society) place variable moral judgements on the various societal ills we deem detrimental to the common good. We don't cut off the hands of a thief in this country for good reason (bad example in this case; but the point remains...)

And I've yet to hear from you specifically; why is there a double standard in this case and how do you come to that conclusion?

Judy Aron said...

Yes John - really bad example. No one is calling for anyone's hand to be chopped off.

And "degrees of badness" has a role in justice, however are you suggesting that unethical behavior in government deserves to be basically ignored or merely fined? With the repeated ethical violations do you suppose Sen. Gaffey should be allowed to continue to dictate law? Oh yeah, I forgot - he just made "a mistake". Puhleeze. Even his excuses are lame.

I suppose the point is that we disagree in that you think his actions past and present are acceptable to warrant the continuation of his service and I believe he ought to be forced to resign. I believe that we could do without one less unethical legislator up in Hartford - and I honestly couldn't care what side of the aisle they sit on. We have laws - and they ought to be enforced. What Gaffey did amounts to stealing, and stealing from the public purse no less. You think he'd have returned money if he hadn't gotten caught? Sure - and there is an Easter Bunny too.

But tell me if he were a Republican that the Democrats wouldn't be crawling all over asking for his head, but since he is one of their own it's o.k.

The point is that Gaffey will get a pass on this "error".
The point is that when Republicans make a similar "error" they get lambasted by the press and persecuted (and perhaps rightly so) but when Democrats do the same they get a slap on the wrist (when they ought to forced to resign).

Gaffey would have been forced to resign last year with the billion dollar affair if he were a Republican. Oh yeah, right...he didn't do anything illegal. He just had an affair with a lobbyist who happened to be trolling for money for her University. No laws were "actually broken".

His lack of ethics is nothing new, yet he remains in key positions in the legislature. Poor Judgement and lack of ethics apparently mean nothing. Why should anyone care anyway - his constituents obviously look the other way as well. He can continue to bully and coerce legislators, and do basically as he pleases.

Double Standard?
Hmmm.... seems I recall that some Democrat aides rifled through someone's personal belongings and were even caught on tape doing it and yet they continued to be employed when they ought to have been summarily dismissed.

Hmmmm.. then there is the case of the Democrat felon leading the MDC. Why isn't he being forced to resign? Where were the virtuous Democrats on that one? I guess that isn't as bad as Lou DeLuca's incident. Cavorting with mobsters is definitely a higher crime than violating federal securities laws. We need "honest" people like DiBella on the MDC.

Egads man, if you fail to see any double standard in Hartford then I certainly can't advise you.
Read Ethics - An early American Handbook.