HARTFORD, CT — With the spotlight on the gubernatorial contest, outgoing Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy sought to correct the record regarding a few things that have been said recently during the debates.
Malloy’s staff sent out a memo titled “Pesky facts” before Monday’s debate between Democratic nominee Ned Lamont and Republican nominee Bob Stefanowski detailing the Malloy administration’s actions regarding the gas tax, immigration policy, and the economy.
On Tuesday, Malloy further sought to defend his record following a Capitol press conference about a cybersecurity report.
He said any accusation that Connecticut is currently diverting or sweeping the gas tax to help cover general fund spending is “a lie.”
The practice, which requires legislative approval, happened in the past, but not over the past two years. It also ignores the fact that Malloy used his political capital to divert some of the sales tax receipts to the special transportation fund to shore it up and make up for years of transportation underfunding by his predecessors.
“I think we should stop having arguments about the past and have discussions about the future,” he added.
The other falsehood Malloy sought to dismiss was the accusation that he “picks and chooses” which federal immigration laws to enforce.
Malloy pointed out that U.S. Attorney General Jefferson Sessions had to admit publicly that Connecticut’s Trust Act complies with federal immigration law and that Connecticut is not in violation.
Connecticut had been mistakenly labeled as a “sanctuary state” by the Trump administration. Connecticut officials argued that the Connecticut Trust Act, which dictates how it handles immigration detainers, doesn’t violate federal law and should not disqualify it from receiving a $1.7 million JAG grant.
Connecticut’s 2013 Trust Act dictates how local and state law enforcement should treat detainer requests for undocumented immigrants in their custody. Connecticut has taken the position that Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer requests are “requests” and not warrants or orders and should only be honored if they are accompanied by a judicial warrant.
Stating that Connecticut is in violation of federal immigration law “is a false statement. It is intentionally made, therefore it’s a lie,” Malloy said.
As for comments about the economy, and statements that Connecticut has lost jobs and the economy has shrunk, Malloy said “we have more private sector jobs in the state than we’ve ever had before” the Great Recession.
According to the latest report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Connecticut’s private sector has fully recovered the jobs lost during the recession and is at 109.7 percent.
“Anyone who says we have fewer jobs is either making a false statement, which they should know is untrue, therefore it’s a lie,” Malloy said.
Since Malloy took office in January 2011, the state has created 78,600 non-farm jobs.
Malloy said Connecticut now has more Fortune 500 companies than it did in 2011 when he first took office.
But truth, Malloy lamented, apparently doesn’t matter anymore these days.
Malloy pointed to a Washington Post article which details the more than 5,000 false or misleading claims made by Republican President Donald Trump.
“When I first got into politics the media saw as its job to print only those things which were factually based,” Malloy said. “But arguably newsrooms were occupied by many more people, teams of people were assigned to finding out what was the truth and what was not the truth, and we live in a world where quite frankly where all of you are so pressed having to write as much as you do on an individual basis that that’s no longer the test.”
He said politicians have been encouraged “to say whatever they want to say because they know it will be covered whether it’s true or not.”
Malloy said that wasn’t a criticism of the Connecticut press corps, but an observation of the current media landscape.
He said none of the reporters went into the business believing a U.S. President would be able to “lie with impunity and not be corrected by the media.”
“So when a candidate running for governor repeats things that they know are false, that in some cases have even been corrected in newspapers, then it’s nothing but a bold-faced lie,” Malloy said.
He said politicians these days can make false statements and “get some segment of the population to believe it’s true, regardless of the fact it’s patently false.”
Malloy, who according to at least one poll is the most unpopular governor in the country, is not seeking re-election after serving two terms.