An advocacy group filed a whistleblower complaint Wednesday alleging that Senate Republicans improperly sent out 50,000 emails in the battle over health reform earlier this year. 

The Connecticut Citizen Action Group filed a whistleblower complaint with the state Auditors of Public Accounts that says Senate Republicans “misused state resources in sending nearly 50,000 unsolicited emails to constituents containing lies about the proposed Public Option – SB 842 to benefit health insurance corporations.” 

“This is clearly an illegal use of state funds to benefit private health insurance companies, in a manner that should concern all the residents of Connecticut,” Liz Dupont-Diehl, CCAG’s special projects coordinator, said.  “The system is already skewed to corporate interests. We don’t need legislators breaking rules to make it even more so.”

Republicans deny any wrongdoing and say Democrats and their allies can’t stop them from telling the public the truth about public policy. 

“No false statements made. Information was shared with engaged constituents including details about our ideas to make health care more affordable for all people, and our valid concerns about the public option – concerns that have been echoed repeatedly by Governor Lamont,” Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly said. “Are lawmakers, agency heads, the Comptroller or the Governor not supposed to work on the clock to advocate for their policy ideas or to share their concerns and analysis on proposed laws?  Are we not supposed to let people know when public hearings are happening and where we stand on major issues?”

Last week, a CCAG report indicated that the state insurance industry spent more than $1.3 million to lobby against the public option proposal, which would have allowed state Comptroller Kevin Lembo to expand the Connecticut Partnership Plan to compete with plans offered in the small business marketplace. The legislation died, however, amid continued opposition from Gov. Ned Lamont. 

A similar plan died in 2019 when Lamont withdrew his support. 

This past April, five Connecticut insurance company executives sent Lamont a letter warning that they would move their employees out of Connecticut if the public option were enacted. 

“All of us will have to decide where it will be best to deploy our resources long term. Private employers and taxpayers should not fund unsustainable public policy pursuits,” the executives wrote

Kelly, who has been touting a reinsurance model that would allow the federal government to pick up the tab for the most costly claims and save ratepayers money, said he’s disappointed. 

“It is disappointing that instead of working with allies on both sides of the aisle to reduce health care costs, this partisan group is putting their energy toward making baseless claims against people who are fighting for the exact same thing they claim to stand for,” Kelly said. “Health care is unaffordable in Connecticut, and we are offering solutions.”