Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has spent the past 48 hours trying to put to bed the controversy over his decision to let People magazine pay for his trip to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. It’s an awkward position for the Democrat, who would rather be talking about public policy than a glitzy D.C. event.
On Thursday, he paid People magazine back the $1,234.62 it spent on him to attend the celebrity studded event, according to a statement from his spokesman, Andrew Doba.
“This has taken on a life of its own and I just thought it was better to end it,” Malloy said of his decision to write a personal check for the event.
He denied he was defiant in doing so, but it’s never a good sign for a politician when he has to return from a party and seek legal counsel.
“My staff makes a lot of decisions about where I go and this was thought because of what we’re trying to do on digital media, as well as public policy on other issues that were referenced in the press release, that this was a good opportunity,” Malloy said. “In retrospect, ya know . . . probably shouldn’t have done it.”
On Wednesday, the governor’s general counsel, Luke Bronin, said the governor’s office would be seeking a formal advisory opinion from the Citizen’s Ethics Advisory Board “out of an abundance of respect for Connecticut’s ethics laws.” After announcing Malloy would be reimbursing People for the expenses, Doba said the administration considered the issue resolved and would not be seeking an opinion after all.
“I decided to cut the whole thing off and I wrote out a check. That’s what I did,” Malloy said.