State Rep. Robert Farr, R-West Hartford, has no illusions about his chances Tuesday. He knows he’s a long shot in the race for attorney general, but that hasn’t stopped him from questioning the popular incumbent’s record. In the last few weeks of the campaign Farr has turned up the heat in radio ads that feature him and his wife talking about the $1.6 billion in child support Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has failed to collect.
What’s even worse, Farr a longtime state legislator said Blumenthal has failed to report the amount of uncollected child support to the legislature. Why? “Because he has no incentive to do so,” Farr said last Thursday. Blumenthal’s radio and tv ads claim for every $1 his office spends, he returns $13 the state. In fact, Blumenthal has collected $194 million in child support. Farr said its this number that Blumenthal bases his $13 return to the state. “In addition to not disclosing the amount of uncollected child support he attempts to divert attention by talking about the billions of dollars collected on the tobacco settlement,” Farr said. The $880 million the state has collected from the tobacco settlement is about half of the amount that has accumulated in uncollected child support, Farr said. Problem is child support isn’t sexy enough to garner media attention. “There’s nothing wrong with the Attorney General’s aggressively enforcing the laws, but he doesn’t do it unless he gets good press,” Farr said. Farr isn’t the only one to point out Blumenthal’s affection for media attention. The American Tort Reform Association came out with a report in early October detailing Blumenthal’s past 13-years in office. The association’s report found Blumenthal’s office files 23,000 lawsuits each year. And “As the chief’s legal officer the attorney general’s office is responsible for protecting consumers, litigating on behalf of state agencies, and enforcing state laws. The report found that in most of these areas our state attorneys general—including Mr. Blumenthal—performed well.” “However, when the interests of the attorney general deviate from the public interest, Mr. Blumenthal’s record is less distinguished,” the report concluded. One of the missteps the ATRA highlighted in its report was Blumenthal’s decision to insert language into state legal contracts that forbade private law firms from contributing to the attorney general’s campaign. In 2002 Republican opponent Martha Dean sued to have the terms of the contract struck down claiming it gave the incumbent Blumenthal a tremendous advantage. The case has since remained on the docket in U.S. District Court unresolved. In July 2006 Blumenthal sent a letter to the 62 private law firms that do business with the state that the ban remained unresolved. Farr told the Connecticut Law Tribune back in August that “The effect of this letter is to notify [the recipients] that their law firm is benefiting from the good graces of Dick Blumenthal, because if the lawsuit were to end, so might their contract.”Click here to read ATRA report.