The Democratic Governors Association donated $1.25 million to Connecticut Forward, the Super PAC formed to help Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s re-election efforts.
The group recently released this ad, which uses footage from Republican Tom Foley’s press conference outside the Fusion Paperboard Co. in Sprague. The company was owned by a private equity firm.
It draws comparisons between the paper mill’s closing and the closing of a textile mill in Georgia that declared bankruptcy shortly after Foley’s private equity firm sold it. The Malloy campaign is using a similar ad criticizing Foley’s tenure at the Bibb Co., and the Foley campaign has an ad accusing the Malloy campaign of distorting the truth when it comes to Bibb.
Connecticut Forward paid Great American Media $834,637 for the ad buy. Great American Media was the same company that was hired by the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee to do Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill’s advertising.
A separate Super PAC calling itself Grow Connecticut and which was largely funded by the Republican Governors Association is running an ad criticizing Malloy for his tax increase and other policies.
The RGA gave Grow Connecticut $500,000. That group paid Target Enterprises of California — which buys media for Republican candidates — $266,000 to run TV ads against Malloy. According to several media reports, it has done work for several PACs associated with Tea Party underdogs trying to unseat Republican incumbents in Congress.
Outside money, like that from the DGA and the RGA, is expected to play a large part in the governor’s race this year. That’s in addition to the increased role the state parties can play in the campaigns for publicly funded candidates like Malloy and Foley.
But interpreting election law and this new landscape created by the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United isn’t always easy.
Election regulators fined Foley in February after another Super PAC, Voters for Good Government, paid $15,504 for a poll commissioned by Foley in March 2013. Regulators found that Foley was officially a candidate at the point he commissioned the poll and he had to pay a $600 penalty. Voters for Good Government paid a $15,504 penalty.
Elizabeth Kurantowicz, former executive director of the Connecticut Republican Party, was the managing director for the Voters for Good Government PAC and is the treasurer for Grow Connecticut.
The only other independent expenditure group to throw its hat into the ring so far this election cycle is CT Voters for Gun Safety. The group has received a donation of about $11,000 from Connecticut Against Gun Violence, which helped organize the protest of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s fundraising trip to Greenwich on behalf of the Republican Party. Christie had recently refused to sign legislation that would have reduced the size of gun magazines.
Ron Pinciaro, executive director of Connecticut Against Gun Violence, announced earlier this year that he would create a Super PAC to support candidates who supported legislation banning assault weapons and reducing the size of magazines.