In a 60-second YouTube video, a political action committee that has donated $1,000 to Mayor Bill Finch’s reelection campaign needles Mary-Jane Foster and her “establishment friends” such as Joel “Speedy” Gonzalez, candidate for city sheriff, Alberto “Tito” Ayala, candidate for town clerk, and former mayoral candidate Charlie Coviello, prospective candidate for Board of Education.
Finch’s association with a political action committee has been center stage the past few days with the mayor taking a pounding over what Foster claims is an inappropriate financial relationship. So it’s intriguing that the first campaign strike at Foster comes from another Connecticut political action committee called A Better Connecticut. Philip Benoit of Rocky Hill CT is listed as treasurer, according to state finance reports. The Benoit PAC donated $750 to the Finch candidate committee in March, adding to a prior $250 contribution.
The video has generated howls of protest from Foster campaign operatives–just as Finch has done regarding Foster’s accusations–claiming the content is false and misleading. Ayala was a school teacher pinched on drug charges in the mid-1990s, Coviello, as a candidate for mayor, received campaign donations from strip club interests and Gonzalez chopped off the tip of his finger in 1994 protesting the gun lobby on the steps of the state capitol. Ayala claims he was pardoned by the Connecticut State Board of Pardons and Paroles in 2008.
The video aims to cast doubt on Foster’s judgment. These kinds of attacks could provoke a tit for tat retaliation. The same commercial could easily replace Foster’s supporters with Finch operatives with dubious past dealings and criminal records.
Finch campaign handlers wouldn’t kick out this spot unless they felt Foster inching too close for comfort, especially in light of the latest news revelations over Finch’s relationship with a PAC. Finch says he’s done nothing wrong. Don’t be shocked if Finch handlers deny association with this attack video that was teed up and ready to go before the latest PAC revelations against the mayor played out in the news.
Strap in. The next five weeks will be a wild, crazy campaign ride for OIB readers.