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Hartford Courant Says No To Public Campaign Funds Underwriting Ganim’s Ambition

April 12th, 2017 · 29 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Politics, News and Events, State Politics

Ganim Courant screenshot

Screenshot of Ganim meeting Courant editorial board.

Joe Ganim persuaded enough Bridgeport voters to take him back in 2015. Now he’s reaching for a higher bar, convincing Connecticut voters to give him a look as he ponders a statewide run in 2018. Part of that process is meeting with editorial boards of newspapers such as the Hartford Courant.

It appears Ganim is boxed out of participating in Connecticut’s Citizens Election Program of publicly funded state races. The state legislature passed a law four years ago prohibiting participation from officials who violate the public trust. Ganim has asked the State Elections Enforcement Commission for a formal ruling. If they rule against him, Ganim may seek court relief on constitutional grounds.

It gnaws at Ganim that he’d have likely been the Democratic candidate for governor in 2002 were it not for the federal investigation that sent him to prison. He can’t let it go so after gifted a second chance by Bridgeport voters in historic fashion his ambition is looking beyond the city for the gubernatorial cycle.

Is it a risk that many city voters will desert him? Maybe, especially if they feel Ganim is deserting them rather than feeling grateful for a second chance. This depends on how well he governs. Voters knew about Ganim’s ambition during JG1, he was the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor in 1994, with his eyes set on the state’s top office. It did not impact his successful reelections for mayor.

Ganim won’t say what statewide office he’s seeking, but it’s governor he wants, certainly a far-fetched notion. But to Ganim’s way of thinking he’s already banked nearly $200K for his 2019 mayoral reelection, running statewide is a free run. He has a backup plan for a 2019 run.

It won’t be a free-money statewide run, however, if he’s denied public financing. He’d have to raise it the old-fashioned way, schmoozing big donations under a cloud of dark money special interests that belies Ganim’s narrative of a reformed man.

Ganim’s session with the Courant’s editorial board wasn’t persuasive enough:

Mr. Ganim has considerable political skills, as his re-election proves. He argues, almost persuasively, that public financing is meant to keep elections clean of corruption and that state government should practice the second-chance gospel it preaches with candidates who have made mistakes. He says he’ll take his case to court if he has to.

Yes, Connecticut is a second-chance society. But not every offender gets every opportunity. An embezzler is barred from serving as a campaign treasurer for several years, for example.

Mr. Ganim is lucky that Connecticut even allows convicted felons to hold office. Many states don’t.

States can also set rules on who gets public funding. Denying it to those who have betrayed the public trust, in order to protect the integrity of elections and the limited pool of money available, seems a reasonable rule.

Read full editorial here.


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29 Comments so far ↓

  • Jimfox

    Ganim should be, boxed out of participating in Connecticut’s Citizens Election Program.
    I hope the SEEC take’s a hard look how Joe Ganim classified himself as a City (Bridge Employee)
    The mayor’s office recently confirmed to Hearst Connecticut Media that Ganim is being treated as a “bridge employee” who picked up where he left off when sworn in Dec. 1, 2015, rather than as a new hire starting at the bottom.
    If you’re Ganim, who already earns $144,000, bridging is a good thing because it means a fatter pension, an annual bonus, cheaper health care and more vacation time.
    Ganim continues to violate the taxpayers trust.

  • Bob Walsh

    Maybe you can try that double dipping that you wanted to do as Lt Governor.
    Stay on as mayor and just collect the Lt Gov pay as chump change.
    We love you Joe.
    Please don’t go.

  • Maria Pereira

    Many of us gave Ganim a second chance and worked hard to get him elected. Let’s make sure he doesn’t get a third.

    He is a narcissist and pathological liar whose word means absolutely nothing.

  • Ron Mackey

    Jimfox, welcome back. As for Joe becoming a “bridge employee” that was all done by David Dunn and Dunn’s payback will be Ganim not calling for a nationwide exam to fill Dunn’s position as the City’s Personnel Director.

    • Lisa Parziale

      Jim it’s so good to have you back and on your game. You’re my, and I’m sure many others, favorite person. Just a brief opinion from one who supported J2 with all my might, and for my reasons. I no longer have a reason to do a replay, Joey G. is halfway through his term as Mayor and while I won’t criticize his performance, it does speak for itself. I don’t profess to know Joey’s personal deal, but I sure as hell know him politically; as well as anyone can. He’s not happy as Mayor, can’t say I blame him, but a lot of us worked very hard to give him a second chance and as before, he wants to hit the road to higher and better office. While he got a second chance in Bridgeport, he blew his one chance Statewide.

  • Maria Pereira

    As promised, I spent hours scrutinizing his campaign filing. Here is what I found:

    There were 366 unique donors not counting PACs. Joe Ganim generously donated $100 to his own campaign.

    Not including PAC donations, $182,255 was raised.

    Of the 365 donors 105 were from the payroll. They donated a total of $48,000 or 29% of the total. This does not include the spouses or immediate family members of those on the payroll, although there was plenty of it.

    Of the 105 donors on the payroll, only 54 can vote in Bridgeport.

    Of the 365 unique donors only 123 were Bridgeport residents. Bridgeport residents only donated $46,425 or 25%.

    The other 242 donations were from the suburbs or out of state which totalled $ 135,830 or 75%.

    Of the 365 donors, 43 failed to identify both their employer and occupation as required by law. “Information Requested” was typed in. In addition, another 31 donors failed to either identify their occupation or employer, therefore “Information Requested” was typed into the respective boxes. 74 donors are missing required information which equates to 20% of all donors.

    There is a significant amount of attorneys, contractors, consultants and lobbyists that donated

    John Bohannan did not identify himself as a city employee although I thought he was the Associate City Attorney???

    Ken Flatto must have received a talking to because he donated $500, and then wrote another check for $500. He must have been lectured and told to pony up.

    One donor used a P.O. Box which I believe is illegal.

    Mario Tests donated $1,000 using his restaurant address.

    John Ricci and Maria Balls both listed their occupations as retired, but both are currently city employees. I don’t believe that is legal.

    Thomas Walsh from Blum Shapiro that audits the BOE and City of Bridgeport donated $500. That is inappropriate.

    I think what is interesting is who did NOT donate. Many generous supporters from 2015 are nowhere to be found. I also donations from several individuals that cannot stand Ganim and will never vote for him again.

    Very little was donated from the Portuguese community which is great to see. We worked hard to get the word out NOT to donate to Ganim.

    I couldn’t help but think how similar it looked to Finch’s 2015 Campaign reports. Plenty of money from the suburbs and out-of-state, but so little support from the very people he represents. Those out-of-town donors can’t vote at Bridgeport polls.

    Mayor Finch had plenty out-of-town money, but he didn’t have the votes of his own constituents.

    And we all know how that worked out for him.

    Reviewing this report has only strengthened my resolve because it CLEARLY shows he has lost support from many Bridgport voters and local, active politicians.

    I feel so content… for now.

  • Lisa Parziale

    Thanks Maria for taking the time to scrutinize the donors and provide a breakdown of there relevance. I admit to my limitations when it comes to understanding the State requirements since I’ve never had a reason to. What happens with those contributors that didn’t identify their employers or occupations, what happens to John Ricci and Maria Ball for submitting improper information, and what about the P.O. Box? This is important to know, if follow-up is not completed Testo will push the envelope further the next time. Blatant, sloppy regard for the law.

  • Maria Pereira

    I think it demonstrates sloppiness and a failure for detail. The deputy treasurer /treasurer need to get their act together.

    This further solidifies my position that Gabby Parisi was bought and paid for because she will work on the filings.

  • Maria Pereira

    On a side note, Constance Vickers, the newly elected president of the Greater Bridgeport Young Democrats, Gage Frank’s girlfriend, and Gage’s and Dollie’s treasurer, also donated $100.

    Don’t you hate when “young dems.” act just like the “old dems.”

  • Robert Teixeira

    Who did Gage support for Mayor in the last election?

  • Nick Novia

    One person listed their occupation as “Lobbyist,” then didn’t check the “Are you a lobbyist” box!?

  • Maria Pereira

    He supported MJF. Gage is liberal, a progressive, and anti- Testa and anti- machine which makes his partnership with Dollie so odd.

    She originally committed to vote for Ganim, but when I followed up with her she told me Ralphie was a police officer and refused to vote for a felon. We met at Fifties Diner but she still refused. I repeatedly invited she and Ralphie to lunch to discuss voting for Ganim, but they declined the meeting. Ralphie and Dollie did NOT vote for Ganim.

    It wasn’t until Dollie and Ralphie were ostracized by the majority of the 138th TC that they became Testo and Ganim disciples. They were looking for a place to land.

    How do you think Ralphie was chosen to fill a BOE vacancy? They had both aligned with Testo and Ganim.

    It is very odd alliance.

    • Robert Teixeira

      Normally I would call it bi-partisanship, but I call it fragile alliance, I guess.

      Anthony’s position on sanctuary city is going to be a factor in this election, depending on the demographics if Gage as a Liberal, Progressive. I’m sure he’s going to press it.

      I would assume that Gage’s has a ground game based on what you said about his Girlfriend, So who aligned with who?

  • Maria Pereira

    Sorry! Damn autocorrect. I meant to type Maria Valle.

  • Harvey Weintraub

    Interesting that Joe Tiago donated $1000,I guess he is securing his made up job Finch gave him,checking pot holes..And Mario donating $1000 is laughable,he donates the $1000,then adds $2000 to the food and drink tab at the end of the fundraiser..

  • Maria Pereira

    No payment to Testo’s was on this report. I also question a $1,500 donation from the Democratic Town Committee.

    There is no endorsed candidate for mayor in 2019, therefore I question how the DTC can donate to Ganim.

  • Frank Gyure

    Why are we talking about this? Ganim is dead in the water as to any statewide race.

  • DC Faber

    Who the heck is talking to Ganim and tell him its a good idea to seek state office. If he was heading a Bridgeport renaissance then he might be able to make a case. Then again if he had been doing that he would have fans rather than detractors. But sadly he has seemingly done little and stayed quite when he could have been a leader. Statewide, nobody knows who Joe is and those who do think of him as a crook. If getting reelected was his first step in a larger plan, he tripped it up.

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    Joe Ganim won City Hall using the same methods that landed Donald Trump in the Oval Office. He appealed to a block of voters that feel angry and left out of the grand scheme of things. “I’ll make it all better, here’s twenty bucks. Thank you for voting!”

    Nothing’s better. Joe Ganim is a charlatan that is unable and/or unwilling to admit he broke the law and betrayed public office. A panel of three Superior Court judges gave a collective thumbs down when he asked to have his law license reinstated. He can’t even control the Board of Education. Now he wants to be governor? Get real. The man is a convicted felon, a crook. Shame on everyone defending him here.

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