Is Gov. M. Jodi Rell hiding behind ill-gotten state GOP money to campaign against Democrats on the car tax?One Democratic gubernatorial candidate is accusing Rell of doing just that, by airing a radio ad today touting her proposal to eliminate the car tax. The candidate, Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy, says that Rell broke her her promise against using contributions from contractors or lobbyists for her campaign, because the radio ad was paid for by money from the Republican Party.Rell’s campaign disputes Malloy’s claim, but Malloy’s campaign is sticking by its statements.“Governor Rell made a big show of saying she wasn’t going to take lobbyist or contractor money into her campaign coffers, but it turns out she may not need to in order to benefit from the same people—because she’s found a way for other people to do it for her,” Malloy said in a press release.

Malloy said that because the Republican Party takes money from lobbyists and state contractors, in effect Rell did the same thing by allowing party money to be used to pay for the radio spot. “Jodi Rell tells the people of Connecticut she won’t take lobbyist and contractor money—but what she doesn’t tell people is that she will still benefit from that same money,” Malloy’s statement says.But Rell’s campaign spokesman, Rich Harris, doesn’t see it that way. He said that first of all, the governor said the campaign would not take any campaign funds from the State Republican Party, which it hasn’t. Secondly, Harris said the campaign guidelines were self-imposed by Rell and have nothing to do with state campaign finance laws. He said Malloy’s statements are misleading because the ad is about a legislative issue”, not her campaign.“It has nothing to do with the campaign,” Harris said.It would be a problem if the ad was paid for by the campaign, he said, but it was not.However, for those who have not heard the ad, it is Rell’s voice, which may have added to some confusion, but it’s not a campaign ad, Harris said. The car tax is “a legislative issue the Republican Party supports and wants to see passed,” he said.Harris did admit that the campaign paid for the “No Car Tax Thanks Jodi!” bumper stickers pictured here, but said it shouldn’t be confused with Rell’s statements in October 2005 when she said she would not solicit any funds from state contractors and lobbyists. Read Rell’s October press release.Since Rell took over the office in 2004, she has become synonymous with sweaky clean fundraising and has maintained an public approval rating above 70 percent, while those in her administration have been caught doing her dirty work, click here