After 28 years in politics, House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero is ready to announce he’s not seeking re-election next year.
The Republican from Norwalk is expected to make the announcement Wednesday before the House debates a bill to increase the minimum wage.
Cafero, who has served in the House since 1992, was elected minority leader in 2007. He succeeded Robert Ward of North Branford, who went on to become Motor Vehicle Commissioner and is currently an Auditor of Public Accounts.
Last year, Cafero announced that he wouldn’t run for his party’s nomination for governor more than a month after federal prosecutors showed a video of an undercover informant trying to put $5,000 in cash in his office refrigerator. The video, which was entered as evidence in a corruption scandal involving the campaign of former Democratic House Speaker Chris Donovan, was secretly recorded by the FBI.
Cafero has said the video exonerates both him and his staff of any wrongdoing. Cafero said that after scrutinizing the video, federal authorities did not charge him and informed him he did nothing wrong.
“I’m very proud of that. I’m proud we did the right thing. So it had no bearing with regard to my decision not to run for governor,” he added.
But just as Cafero had planned to announce he wasn’t going to seek another term, the FBI came knocking again.
At the end of February, FBI investigators served four subpoenas on House Republican PACs and Legislative Management.
The subpoenas asked for all the correspondence House Republican staff had with George Gallo, the House Republican chief of staff, who resigned before news of the federal inquiry broke.
The subpoena also asked for information regarding The Vinco Group LLC, the consulting firm Gallo created in 2003 and used to do some of his political consulting work. It also asked for any information pertaining to Direct Mail Systems of Florida and King Strategic Communications of Ohio, two direct mail companies used by Republican lawmakers dating back to 2008.
No one has been charged in the investigation, but the timing didn’t make Cafero’s announcement any easier.
Then Cafero had planned to announce a few weeks ago, but Rep. Elaine O’Brien, D-Suffield died. Instead of distracting from her memorial he decided to wait.
Cafero’s colleagues wanted to refrain from commenting on his pending retirement until he makes it official. Several have been quietly campaigning for his leadership position even while they wished he would stay.
Cafero is a partner in the Hartford law firm of Brown Rudnick. He was recognized by Woodward/White’s The Best Lawyers in America in 2013 in the area of real estate law.