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Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Bold Move to End CTGOP Convention Corruption

Every once in a while a bit of good news is delivered to The King's Castle. This is one of those rare times where I find myself cheering wildly for a few brave souls who are trying to make a positive difference within our self-beleaguered Connecticut Republican Party; the goal to end corruption within our Party is a noble one, well worth the effort, and well worth making it a point of public record here. 

You didn't need a magnifying glass
to see the connection between dollars
and delegates during the 2010 CT
Republican State Convention.
I'm hopeful that this body of work is not news to any of Republican State Central Members, who I'm told, have been mulling around these suggestions for some time. The fact that this body of work was only made known to me formally in the last couple days or so suggests that its ready for public consumption. My thanks to Joe Visconti for keeping me in the loop, and sending the latest drafts my way.

In this entry I want to focus on what is being proposed rather than take everyone down the long dark path of historical record. The resolutions being recommended deserve a fair hearing on their own merit without creating additional divisions within the Party by naming names of naysayers, and dissenters at this point, or going off on a hypothetical tangent about who might benefit most from their approval. And honestly, since the proposed resolutions would apply to all those involved in the upcoming State Convention Process - it is The King's View that everyone would be placed on the same level playing field; giving no one candidate advantage over the other. Those opting out would be subject to intense criticism and scrutiny; doing so at their own peril.

One of the chief reasons the public hates politics is because there is the assumption that politicians tend to care more about taking care of themselves (and each other) rather than the constituents they serve. Whether money is the root of all evil is a matter of conjecture, but it certainly seems to find it's way into the pockets of many of our politicians, whether elected to formal office, or as representatives to commissions and committees on our behalf. And to be fair, no political party owns the high ground on this issue, as reward and patronage have been with us since time immemorial.

While stopping the transfer of all cash or favors from one hand to another would be a Fool's Errand, we can at least create a window of transparency that allows the public to make it's own judgements as to what is above bar, and what is collusion, or patronage. These resolutions were drafted by former CT Attorney General Republican Candidate Martha Dean, Esq, and former CT 1st District Republican Congressional Candidate Joe Visconti, and are being co-sponsored for presentation to Republican State Central by two courageous State Central Representatives - Scott Veley (District 6; Kensington) and Mark Pappa (District 9; Newington). God Bless you guys for sticking your necks out as Change Champions!

Without further ado, here are the proposed resolutions in current draft form:


Concerning delegates and integrity of process at 2012 State GOP Convention

RESOLVED, that prior to selecting delegates to the State Convention, Town Committees shall ask appropriate questions of potential delegates concerning their paid involvement or business affiliation with any candidate’s campaign;

RESOLVED, that Town Committees should endeavor to avoid the appearance of impropriety by selecting delegates to the State Convention who are not on a campaign’s payroll or in a vendor or other business relationship with any candidate’s campaign; and

RESOLVED, that prior to selecting delegates to the State Convention, Town Committees shall obtain the commitment of any prospective delegate to wear (if selected as a delegate) an appropriate disclosure, to be decided upon by the State Convention’s Rules Committee, in a conspicuous place at all times during the State Convention, which disclosure will identify the delegate as on the payroll of a specific campaign or in a vendor or other business relationship with a specific campaign.

All historic movements require a starting point. The approval of these resolutions would be a giant first step to move not just the CTGOP, but all of Connecticut Politics toward more ethical way of conducting the People's business. A process free of pressure from outside influences trading rewards for favors would purify decisions made by trusted representatives and renew confidence in the public trust.

You would have suspect that anyone unwilling to support the resolutions proposed must have something to hide. Further, anyone arguing that they would not support these resolutions because they would not be legally enforceable are merely looking for an excuse to hide behind a technicality so that they can conduct business as usual. Obviously, a bylaw change, which would be enforceable, is a better overall solution, but given that the effort required to change the bylaws would take months of preparation, it is not feasible that it would be adapted prior to the 2012 State Convention. These resolutions are about what can be done to make the process more ethical today.

And the best thing we can hope for is a roll-call vote to let the public know who is in favor of transparency, and ending improprieties, and who isn't.

So, who will have the courage to support the Dean-Visconti Resolutions, and who will fight for the status quo? Only time will tell. Based on what I've been told, the resolutions will be entered/have been entered on the December State Central agenda, and would need to be voted on in a subsequent meeting - perhaps, January at the earliest.

Let's hope that Republican State Central Members do the right thing and vote to pass these historic resolutions.
In the meantime, are there any takers in the Democrat Party who would dare challenge their members to approve a similar set of resolutions?

RTCs, State Central, Convention, etc.

Although this column is favored by political insiders and hobbyists, it occurred to me that some people reading this piece may not understand what I'm talking about when I mention Republican State Central or State Convention, etc. As it stands, I know that many registered Republicans aren't even aware that Republican Town Committees (RTCs)exist, or that RTCs chose representatives to represent them at a State Central Committee, and also chose a slate of delegates to represent them at a State Convention where candidates are voted on, and formally nominated by the Party.

For starters, if you're a registered Republican and may be interested in joining your Republican Town Committee, you might want to inquire soon. As it happens, in January of 2012, towns and cities are mandated by Connecticut State Law to select Republican Town Committee Members. Some towns have an open process which is conducted by Caucus, and some towns have a closed process where members of the Town Committee select a nominating committee and draft a slate of RTC candidates of Republicans to be voted on. Some towns permit only a set number of RTC members, while others seem to have an unlimited number of members - as determined by their by-laws. Above all else, the purpose of the RTC is to draft candidates, get local Republicans elected, and raise funds to support local elections. A side role is to discuss local issues and strategize or discuss how to approach them. 

Second, RTCs send delegates to Caucus to select State Central Committee members who are supposed to meet a certain number of times a year, and act as a liaison between RTCs and the State Party. While there are many questions regarding the benefit and productivity of the current organization, State Central helps to draft candidates for federal office, and has responsibility for holding a State Convention, and nominating a set of candidates for federal office, and state offices. State Central members have the added benefit of voting at the State Convention as Super-Delegates - meaning their vote counts twice - this is as obnoxious in theory as it is in practice (mainly because most serving are hardly worth half a vote given the state of things IMHO).

Third, RTCs also have the added responsibility of selecting delegates to send to the State Convention to participate in the nomination of federal and state candidates. Each town has a set allocation as determined by State Bylaws.

One of the big beefs that the public has is that they complain that they don't know who makes decisions on their behalf within the Connecticut Republican Party. Fact is that I would guess that 99% of registered Republicans couldn't tell you who their State Central member is, or who is representing them as a delegate at the State Convention. There has always been a particularly political manner in which delegates for the State Convention are chosen. Sometimes it's by tenure, but often the decision is reserved by the Chairman alone to determine who s/he wants to attend given his knowledge of how they will vote. This kind of decision-making is all about why the resolutions above are being suggested - if you take it a step further. 

RTCs may receive cash donations from candidates as an indirect payment for votes, or even Chairman or individuals could receive cash or favors from third party vendors which go undocumented and unaccounted for; meaning individual payoffs can be masked within the current reporting process. Just looking at what occurred before and during the 2010 Connecticut State Republican Convention, you will understand the urgency around adopting these resolutions; the splintering our State Party began during that unfortunate period, and old wounds in many districts are still not healed, and fresh in the minds of delegates, and voters alike. It's clear, that the antics from that convention affected the results of the 2010 General Election here in Connecticut.

Given the obvious opportunity for shenanigans, and payoffs, and greater division within the already fragile CTGOP - if certain situations were to reoccur at the 2012 Convention, it's critical that steps are taken to ensure fair play. The three resolutions above are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to moving toward a more ethical and transparent system. And now you can understand just why they are so important.



This original blog entry can be read at


Laura said...

Dear King
I wonder if a pledge can be taken by candidates if money drives these resolutions into the ground, never to see the light of day again? I hope in January some State Central members dont try and postpone this until the clock runs out for the selection of delegates. I also wonder about RTC's being given money by candidates and if that influences the choice of delegates in towns? If State Central rejects these resolutions drafted by Martha I will be registering unaffiliated, I just wouldn't be able to take any more corruption in the party I have loved all my life and have been a loyal member of. Thank you Martha and Joe for doing this and thank you Scott and Mark for your courage.

Roger M said...

Wow a friend of mine just sent me this link. I can't believe this can happen? I can't believe delegates at a convention could be paid and then vote for their employer? Why isn't their a law agaisnt this? Why should I care about Voter fraud at the polls when this is the biggest fraud imaginable.I am proud to see that someone is attempting to change this.

The King said...

Laura: I wouldn't be surprised if candidates are interviewed and asked questions about this "problem" directly by the Press. Stay tuned. If you are in the Republican Party, I ask you to consider one big negative of you switching to unaffiliated - it would mean that it would be harder for you to influence the direction of your local RTC and/or Party Organization. If you aren't already - get involved in your local RTC and ask your Chairman where he or she stands on this.

The King said...

Roger: Great point. Changing the laws would be preferable, and this is a good place to start. It's sad to know that the kind of corruption we are talking about - using hidden third party vendors to distribute cash/favors - is perfectly legal.

If we really want to end the pay-to-play scheme, then the next question we should ask is: "Given that several states have moved away from the convention process, is it time that Connecticut follows suit, and allows the primary election process alone to determine our candidates?" I believe this would require a law change.

It seems to me that conventions are a drain on cash for both our Candidates and the State Party. Now if you are a millionaire or billionaire, I guess money is no object. Our current system certainly doesn't favor the average person who to survive would need enough revenue to "buy" the convention, then win a primary, then win the General Election. Tall order for most people - look at the candidates district by district and you can quickly see the distinction. Oh, and the 5th Congressional District is a great place to start.

Ben from Glastonbury said...

I will be calling the chairman of the party about this to see where he stands. I pray he gets behind these resolutions so faith can once again be restored in the Connecticut Republican Party.

B Miller said...

Questions for the King:
1.Can my donations to a candidate be used to pay for a delegate (s)at the convention?
2.Where can I go look to see which candidates are paying delegates?
3.Where do I look to see which candidates might be giving donations to RTC's?
Thank You

Still Pissed off in Branford ! said...

I attended the convention in 2010 and am still disgusted at what I witnessed. I hope Linda McMahon does not think she can buy delegates and the convention once again. btw will our past party chair be a delegate to the 2012 convention and didn't I recently read somewhere in the media that he was working on some campaigns? He better not think he is going to work on any convention committees if he is a delegate. Boy oh boy I can't wait for these resolutions to go into effect to clean up Dodge. It's about damn time!

Anonymous said...

Good ideas and good for Veley and Papa for shoving it on the table. Knowing the charecter of the CT GOP state ctrl members makes me doubt they would pass this- then the $$ hounds ( Mary Ann Turner comes to mind)would have to disclose their money scam.

Anonymous said...

The propose resolution falls short of meaningful change.

If folks were serious, they would abolish the convention system and adopt a Direct Primary via Petition process.

That system is already written into Law.

Anonymous said...

"King" there's no law change required to "allow the primary election process alone to determine our candidates"

You need to read the law and if you did, you'd find that the laws are already (and have been for a very long time) in place that require nominations to be determined by a primary. The law also allows major and minor parties the means by which to endorse candidates and prescribes a few requirements for conventions and prescribes instances for the cancellation of primaries.

No offense but you really need to study and understand election law before you go off half-cocked and draw wrong conclusions.

Anonymous said...

1. Yes
3. See answer to #2

Ben from Glastonbury, the state party chairman doesn't report to you so don't be surprised if he doesn't call you back, I wouldn't if I were him.

The state party chairman reports to the 72 members of the State Central Committee because they elect him. The State Central Committee members report to the delegates that elect them and those delegates are selected by the Town Committee members. If you're a Town Committee member then the proper protocol is to express your views to your State Central member who then may express those views to the state party chairman.

If you're not a Town Committee member then you have to express your views to the individual Town Committee members in your town because for all intents and purposes they report to you because they are elected by all the Republicans in your town in a primary every two years.

As a non-Town Committee member, that's the only place you have any "juice" with your concerns and opinions because if you don't like what the Town Committee does or doesn't do, you can vote them out at the primary in March of the even years.

Good luck with that.

Authentic Connecticut Republican said...

Let me help clarify how to find your state central members (every state senate district has two)

The complete list is available here and includes (hopefully) correct email addresses and phone numbers:

Let me note that for a few years mine was the only number posted and despite that I received exactly ONE phone call where the caller told me the state central website had been where he found my number.

BTW - I don't take blocked calls and doubt you do either.

-Doug Hageman
doug (at)
860 919-8315

The King said...

Anomymous Bill J - You misunderstand my point. I'm actually for abandoning the entire State Convention process. Obviously, the laws are already established for the purpose of holding primaries. Why not get rid of the State Convention (which I'm told is required by State Law) and let the voters decide who our nominees will be without the added expense and theatrics of a convention of people who are pretty much disconnected with voters.

Before you go off half-cocked and accuse me of not understanding election law, make sure you understand the context of my comments.

Glastonbury RTC Member said...

Party Chairman Labriola made a huge mistake not telling the Hartford Courant reporter he will back these resolutions with all his power. He cannot serve two masters and will end up worse off than former Chairman Christopher Healy because he knows better. Chairman Labriola please lead our Party with ethics and integrity, the Connecticut political world and registered Connecticut Republicans are watching.

The Judge said...

Conflicts of interest must be avoided and certainly disclosed period.

Madison RTC Member said...

@Glastonbury RTC Member - The fact that Chairman Labriola was quoted in the Hartford Courant saying "nominations are not for sale" and him not leading the charge for integrity with these new resolutions is hypocritical. Without these and more ethics related resolutions in place nominations are for sale Mr Chairman and we will not look the other way anymore, been there done that (Healy Inc).

Anonymous said...

The rejection of Vladimir Putin by voters in Russia demonstrates the sentiment of rigged politics...see Syria, Egypt, Chicago, Quater, Bahrain, Greece...with ethical standards at an all time low it's time for a turning point.

Anonymous said...

Conventions are not required by state law.

The King said...


Section 9 in the 370s.

Anonymous said...

What do you mean by "Section 9 in the 370s?"

Conventions are not required by state law, it's as simple as that. You need to start taking advice from someone who knows election law instead of just repeating phrases like "Section 9 in the 370s" which you clearly don't even know what that means. If you actually went to Title 9 of the statues and read them before you made this nonsensical statement, you'd see what I'm talking about.

Better yet, email Ted Bromley at the Secretary of the State's office, and as ask him the following question:

"Mr. Bromley, are major parties REQUIRED to hold endorsement conventions?" Please post his email response for all to see.

I agree with you that in cases where there are more than one candidate who wants the nomination, I'm in favor of not holding a convention and requiring them all to collect signatures and have the decision made at a primary.

The problem here "King" is you said this:

"Why not get rid of the State Convention (which I'm told is required by State Law) "

and you're wrong, they are not required by state law. I stated you're wrong and instead of just admitting you're wrong, you want to keep arguing with me.

The King said...

I can see I hit a note with you for whatever reason. I don't think I'm wrong for writing that someone told me the State Convention is required by Law. I'm not arguing that its required or not required. I'll tell you what - why don't you write Ted Bromley, and if he responds to you, send me the copy and I'll post it here.

Just so you know - our GOP State Chairman is on record as saying that the Convention is required by Law. Since we have almost nothing in the bank, I'd be for cancelling the Convention and using money to run ads or do something constructive for the Party. But you'll need to convice Jerry McLabriola and his CTGOP Counselor friend - Justin Clark. Clark says the Convention is a legal requirement.

Hey anonymous - get it cancelled and you'll be a hero. Let LindaShaysHillMcCoy collect signatures and fight it out in a Primary. Seems fair to me - a lot fairer than the path we are going down today.

Anonymous said...

"King" I figured out a way to approach Ted so I just sent him the following email:

"Hello Ted,

Would you please confirm to me in writing that endorsement conventions as described in Chapter 153 of the Connecticut General Statutes are not required?

I already know that they are not but a written statement from you stating they're not would be most helpful.

Thank you,"

I'll let you know what his answer is, okay?

Anonymous said...

Here's Ted Bromley's reply:

"Endorsement Conventions for what? No party need endorse a candidate, of course. Absent an endorsement, if a party member achieved the requirement signatures on
a primary petition they would become the party endorsed/nominated candidate.

Does that help?


I also spoke to Justin Clark on Friday and he told me he never told Jerry that conventions are required.