(Updated 7:30 p.m.) Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst says he is sick and tired of the Connecticut Democratic Party’s “arrogance.”
That’s why he’s asking state election regulators to investigate the party and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s 2014 re-election campaign for not paying its attorney, David Golub, for nearly two years of legal services related to allegations they violated clean election laws.
Golub represented the party in a case involving allegations that it illegally used donations to help pay for materials in support of Malloy’s re-election effort. The case was settled for $325,000 in June. Financial records the party is required to file with the state and federal government show no evidence that Golub was paid for his services.
Golub did not return requests for comment, but a spokesman for the Democratic Party said the provision of voluntary legal services was fully compliant with both state and federal laws.
“In this case, we were involved in a protracted legal matter, and the state party has an agreement with our attorneys to ensure any and all administrative costs are appropriately handled,” Leigh Appleby, communications director for the Democratic Party, said. “The bottom line is that this a political report filed by a struggling candidate for higher office looking to make a name for himself.”
State law allows Golub to volunteer his time, but not the resources of his law firm. It’s unclear if Golub, who is a named partner in the Stamford law firm of Silver, Golub & Teitell, was the only person to work on the case.
“It is disingenuous to pretend that no expenses were incurred by Mr. Golub’s firm in the course of his defense of the Connecticut Democrat Party,” Herbst said Wednesday. “Malloy and the Connecticut Democrat Party continue to disappoint voters who have entrusted them to play by the rules. I hope the State Elections Enforcement Commission will investigate this matter and continue to hold the party accountable. This continued arrogance insults our citizens and shows blatant disregard for the clean election laws that were passed in 2005.”
State and federal law only allow a person to donate a maximum of $10,000 to each of the accounts. Even if he volunteered his time, the calculation of his services must be made assuming a fair market value. Sources familiar with the case have estimated the extensive briefings involved in the case, which lasted nearly two years, would have amounted to more than the maximum donation allowed by a person.
Meanwhile, a federal grand jury also has been convened in recent weeks to look into the Democrats’ fundraising efforts to get Malloy re-elected in 2014.
The State Elections Enforcement Commission settled the case before the discovery phase. A federal grand jury may be able to compel testimony to find out if Malloy, a publicly financed candidate, used state contractor funds solicited by the party for his re-election effort. Malloy, who received $6.5 million in state taxpayer dollars to run for a second term, is barred from using state contractor donations for his re-election.
Under federal law, political parties are allowed to accept state contractor donations in their federal accounts to support congressional candidates and get-out-the-vote efforts. A get-out-the-vote message was included in each of the mailers featuring Malloy.
Golub argued in court during the trial that the party had to use federal funds due to the get-out-the-vote message included in the mailers.