Since it was discovered last week that Gov. M. Jodi Rell ignored the advice of her own staff attorneys when she announced she would attempt to veto portions of the budget—questions have been raised about who she trusts more than her own staff.
Skeptics believe she may have been playing politics and using bad legal advice to take a shot at the Democrats after the longest budget battle in Connecticut’s history. Unfortunately Friday’s question and answer session left the door open to more questions than answers.
While she did not say Friday, which attorneys she consulted, she did take the opportunity to clarify the situation.
“I talked to outside attorneys,” Rell said Friday after the state Bond Commission meeting. “They’re friends, the people that I called.”
What advice did they give her?
“They said that it was a toss up. If I wanted to pursue it that I probably would have a tough fight, but that it looked possible and it was entirely up to me. When the attorney general gave me his advice, unsolicited though it was, I felt that I would better be advised to follow his advice than have a lengthy court battle.”
Why not sign the budget and veto portions of it or veto it altogether?
“Because I frankly think the budget is so bad that I would not put my signature to it,” Rell said. “Someone had to stand up and say let us end this budget impasse and move on and that’s what I did.”
Does Rell regularly seek advice from outside attorneys?
“Sometimes I talk with other lawyers,” Rell said. “I don’t know if I seek advice.”
Friday’s 15-minute question and answer session with the media seemed to leave the door open for more questions than answers about Rell’s relationships.
Some have questioned whether Rell’s decision to speak and take the advice of outside legal counsel could be considered a gift to the state. Rell’s staff has said she did not pay for the advice she was given.