When he announced his exploratory campaign for governor earlier this week Republican Tom Foley made some sweeping statements about Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s ethics, but he refused to offer any specifics. On “Face the State” Sunday he offered up at least four examples of “things that are believed,” about Malloy’s administration.
None of the accusations made were substantiated by anything other than Foley’s unnamed sources before he made them on television, which left host Dennis House and his two political analysts to wonder why Foley made them in the first place.
“They’re a problem whether they’re true or not,” Foley said.
In a phone interview Sunday, Foley maintained that they were “not unsubstantiated allegations because I have multiple sources for all of them.” However, he declined to divulge any of his sources because “it meets the same standard the media sets for itself.”
Multiple individuals or organizations implicated by Foley Sunday called them “ridiculous” and declined in some instances to even respond to them.
Andrew Doba, a spokesman for Malloy, called on Foley to apologize for the remarks.
“Mr. Foley’s allegations are factually incorrect,” Doba said. “The reason he can’t back them up is because they’re untrue. Mr. Foley owes everyone to whom he referred an immediate apology.”
In a phone interview Sunday after the “Face the State” broadcast, Foley said that if Malloy doesn’t deny the accusations “today or tomorrow, then they must be true.”
On “Face the State”, Foley accused Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Daniel C. Esty of giving Malloy a no-show consulting job during the 2010 campaign, so he could earn a living while running for governor. He alleged that that’s why Esty was appointed commissioner once Malloy was in office.
From 2009 until he was elected governor in 2010, Malloy was a consultant for Class Green Capital Partners of New York. Esty’s spokesman said Esty’s consulting firm never did any business with Class Green Capital Partners or Malloy.
Foley also said Roy Occhiogrosso, one of Malloy’s top advisers who returned to Global Strategies Group last year after serving as the governor’s communications chief for two years, landed a “lucrative” state contract to do public relations work for the new health insurance exchange because of his relationship with Malloy.
It is an irresponsible, false allegation that has no basis in fact,” Occhiogrosso said. He referred further inquiry to Global Strategies Group.
Tanya Meck, executive vice president and managing director of Global Strategies Group, said that the company participated in a competitive bidding process for the $20,000 per month contract with Access Health CT.
“Since being awarded the business, our work has been to maximize earned media opportunities and to inform the people of Connecticut about the benefits of healthcare reform as provided through the plan offerings at Access Health CT,” Meck said. “We’re proud of the work that we do with the Access Health CT team, and look forward to continuing our efforts to make sure that everyone in Connecticut understands the healthcare insurance options that will be available to them starting October 1st.”
Kevin Counihan, CEO of Access Health CT said Sunday in a statement that “We evaluated and scored three responses to our RFP and ranked GSG’s capabilities the highest with respect to experience and capability for our needs.”
The contract for strategic communications which was signed on June 20 runs through May 2014.
The state’s one-year revolving door law says Occhiogrosso can’t solicit business for his firm from the three dozen people in the governor’s office. Access Health CT is a quasi-public agency funded mostly with federal funds.
In a phone interview Sunday, Foley said “it may not be illegal, but it’s not okay.”
During his television appearance Sunday, Foley also accused the Malloy administration of pressuring the UConn Foundation to pay for his trip to World Economic Forum events in Switzerland and China.
The trip to China cost more than $28,066, according to the charges on the state credit card issued to Economic and Community Development Commissioner Catherine Smith, but some of that cost to the state was reimbursed by the UConn Foundation.
“The amount of the travel reimbursed was $16,188 and was specifically for Governor Malloy in his role as ex-officio Chair of the Board of Trustees of the University, not for other staff or travelers,” John Sponauer, assistant director for marketing for the UConn Foundation, has said. “The funds were provided from contributions made to the Foundation by donors for the general support of the University, without the use of any tuition dollars or support otherwise designated for specific programs at the University.”
It was initially thought that Connecticut taxpayers would foot the bill for the trip to China, but Smith has said a presentation to the UConn Foundation following the trip convinced them to pay Malloy’s travel expenses.
In a phone interview Sunday, Foley said one board member of the foundation complained to him about being pressured by the administration to pay for the trip. Foley declined to offer up the name of the board member so CTNewsJunkie.com could confirm the allegation.
Foley maintained that, “like a journalist,” he doesn’t have to divulge his sources.
“This meets the standard that the media sets for itself,” Foley said.
Foley’s accusations continued Sunday during his televised performance.
He alleged that in order for municipalities to receive a bond issuance from the state it has to use the law firm of Pullman and Comley, which is the same firm Malloy’s former legal counsel and now Supreme Court Justice Andrew McDonald worked for as a partner in Stamford.
“If you don’t use Pullman and Comley for your bond issuance, it’s much less likely that the governor’s going to approve it,” Foley said. “And he has sole authority to approve all bond offerings to the state.”
House asked him to share the names of first selectmen or municipal officials who may want to confirm the accusation, but Foley declined to offer names.
“But there’s more than one. Let me say that,” Foley said.
Pullman and Comley was not immediately available to respond.
Malloy does control the agenda for the state Bond Commission, but the commission has the authority to authorize the bonds.
Former Republican state Rep. Brian Flaherty, who worked for Foley’s campaign in 2010, called the former ambassador’s remarks Sunday “dangerous.”
Using the perception of a conflict of interest as a theme in a campaign “can be a zero-sum game when the voters are going to want to know who is going to answer the kitchen table issues about their jobs and family and their kids education,” Flaherty said.
He said Foley’s interview was “explosive” but he failed to talk about what he would do for the state if he was elected governor.
The Connecticut Democratic Party used Foley’s remarks as an opportunity to ask for records Foley failed to disclose in 2010.
“Every single one of the allegations Mr. Foley made are factually incorrect, and that’s why he can’t back them up,” according to the statement. “Speaking of disclosure, Mr. Foley has steadfastly refused to release his arrest records involving two incidents, including one felony arrest in which he ended up spending the night in jail.”
The Democratic Party was referring to reporting done by the Courant during the 2010 campaign.