The state Senate voted 33-0 Wednesday on a resolution to create a six-member panel to investigate Republican Senator Louis DeLuca’s association with Danbury trash-hauler James Galante, who he asked to threaten his granddaughter’s husband.
Senate President Donald Williams and Senate Minority Leader John McKinney made brief comments on how the bipartisan committee will be organized, before DeLuca stood up to address his colleagues.
In his speech on the Senate floor, DeLuca said he will cooperate fully with the panel’s inquiry. He said he trusts the committee will proceed in a “fair and responsible manner.” DeLuca then recused himself from the vote, but said later that if he was able to vote, he probably would have voted in favor of the resolution.
DeLuca did have one criticism of the resolution. He said it should have included more rules and standards for how the committee will proceed.
Following the Senate vote DeLuca held a press conference in which he explained how he never specifically offered the help of his office to Galante. He said he told the FBI agent, who he thought was Galante’s associate, that he would “do what he could to help Galante’s family.”
According to the arrest warrant affidavit, in Sept. 2006 an undercover federal agent, posing as a business associate of Galante, met with DeLuca. At that meeting DeLuca told the agent, “anytime [Businessman A] needs anything, anything, within my power, that I can do, I will do.” DeLuca then told the agent he was shocked when Galante was indicted because he “is not a careless guy.” Then DeLuca advised the agent that if they needed his assistance the best way to contact him is through a specific individual because “nobody knows [about] that relationship.”
Two days later DeLuca met with the undercover agent again. The agent asked DeLuca to influence legislation to help Galante. DeLuca said, “I can’t influence it at this point because it’s out of my hands, but if it gets to the point where I have appointments, I can influence it that way. You know, if somebody, if it’s a commission that needs to be in that, that, is gonna be a watchdog on CRRA and make recommendations then I’ll make an appoint…generally I get an appointment.”
During Wednesday’s press conference DeLuca also took it upon himself to explain all the media’s mistakes in covering his situation. He said he wanted to specify that when he met with Galante, Galante was not indicted by the feds. And he said Galante only paid tribute to the mafia, “it didn’t say he was part of the organization.”
The six-member committee will be named within the next few days, Williams said. He said the committee will be tasked with reviewing the entire public record concerning the events leading up to DeLuca’s guilty plea on the misdemeanor charge of conspiracy to commit threatening in the second degree.
DeLuca said he will appear before the committee.
Williams went onto explain that the committee can make one of four recommendations to the full Senate. The recommendations include, no action, reprimand, censure, or explusion. He said if the recommendation is explusion then DeLuca may request a heaing be held before the full Senate prior to any action by the Senate.
McKinney said to “sit in judgment of a colleague,” is not “easy,” however, “it’s about doing the right thing.”