Presumptive Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley doubled down Tuesday on an ethics bill the Government Administration and Ethics Committee let die earlier this month after it was condemned by lawmakers of both parties.
Foley and Sen. Joseph Markley, R-Southington, held an afternoon press conference in the Legislative Office Building, to reiterate the need for legislation to curb conflicts of interest in state government.
Foley, who lost a close election to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in 2010 and has been positioning for another run next year, testified before the legislature’s open government committee in March in support of a bill prohibiting lawmakers or a members of their immediate family from being paid more than $1,000 from an employer that benefits from state funding.
The testimony did not resonate well with members of either party. Lawmakers on the committee called the legislation overly broad and several chided Foley for suggesting widespread corruption in state government.
The committee took no action on the bill before it’s April 8 deadline, effectively killing it for the legislative session.
On Tuesday, Foley said the response he received from the committee almost a month earlier further convinced him of the necessity of the bill.
“You wouldn’t think legislators would be so brazen as to shout down someone trying to throw cold water on corruption,” he said.
During the bill’s public hearing, several Republican House members said the impact of the bill would prohibit a large number of current lawmakers from serving in the legislature.
Foley pushed back on the allegation Tuesday, saying his research found that less than a dozen current current lawmakers would be affected. When asked, he said that one of them is House Minority Leader Larry Cafero, who is expected to challenge Foley for the Republican nomination in next year’s governor’s race. Cafero works as a partner at Brown Rudnick, a law firm that lobbies the legislature.
“I’ve known Larry Cafero a long time I think he’s served honorably in the House. He’s a friend,” Foley said. “This legislation is not about trying to capture or single out single individuals.”
Markley said he would look for another piece of legislation to serve as a suitable vehicle to tack Foley’s bill onto if he could raise the support among other lawmakers. If not, he hoped to move ethics legislation next session.