This week Richard Blumenthal’s U.S. Senate campaign returned two checks received earlier this year from lawyers who have contracts with the Attorney General’s office.
A $250 check from Anthony Fitzgerald of Carmody and Torrance, and a $250 check from Gary Jones of Levy and Droney were returned by the campaign Aug. 30 once they were made aware that the two law firms had open contracts with the attorney general’s office.
Another $500 from two other attorneys was returned earlier this year when the Blumenthal campaign became aware of them. Roughly 40 of the 8,000 contributions received by the Blumenthal campaign to date have been returned because they violate his “self-imposed” fundraising rules.
Linda McMahon, his Republican opponent in the U.S. Senate race, has hammered Blumenthal by suggesting he has not been honest about his fundraising efforts by accepting PAC money. However, McMahon’s campaign declined to comment on the latest two checks to be returned.
“Our in-house compliance staff does everything possible to make sure the ones that don’t comply with our self-imposed restrictions are refunded, but no system is infallible,” Maura Downes, Blumenthal’s campaign spokeswoman, said Friday.
In addition, Downes said the campaign is not allowing attorneys that have contracts with the attorney general’s office to host fundraisers.
The one hosted by Larry Price of Brown, Paindiris, and Scott on March 26 of this year was an oversight. Price’s law firm has one open contract with the attorney general’s office, which was opened in February 2009.
It is allowing attorneys at firms that no longer have contracts with the attorney general’s office to donate and to host fundraisers.
Still Blumenthal’s fundraising efforts pale in comparison to the $50 million McMahon has mentioned she would spend on the race. Asked by the Stamford Advocate in August if he would dip into his family’s fortune to help fund his campaign Blumenthal seemed to dismiss the idea.
“I’ve said from the beginning we’re relying on a very active and so far energized and successful grassroots fundraising effort,” Blumenthal told Brian Lockhart of the Stamford Advocate.
McMahon’s campaign used Blumenthal’s statements regarding his acceptance of PAC money to continue to gain ground on his image, which was first wounded in May when he admitted he “misspoke” about his service during the Vietnam era.
One day after entering the race this January, Blumenthal appeared on MSNBC and told the hosts, “I’ve never taken PAC money, and I have rejected all special interest money because I have stood strong and taken legal action against many of those special interests.”
Blumenthal’s campaign has said he was talking about his past races for attorney general and not the U.S. Senate race, which at that point was just 24-hours old.
According to the Federal Elections Commission Blumenthal has accepted about $480,000 in PAC money and had about $2 million cash on hand at the end of June. The last reporting period ended this week, but reports aren’t yet available.
In July Blumenthal told CTNewsjunkie and WTNH’s Mark Davis that “the people of Connecticut know me. They know that no donation from anyone will change the fact that I have fought for them and I will continue to fight for them.”