Vinnie Roberti, who was a political player in Bridgeport 30 years ago, has an octopus’ touch when it comes to government, politics, business. He also has the survival skills of Frankenstein’s monster. Interesting piece from www.registercitizen.com about papa’s influence on his son’s congressional race. The publication asks, Is Dan Roberti the Manchurian Candidate? Check it out.
Dan Roberti is 30 years old.
He has no work history or record of public service in the state of Connecticut, no voting record, no real qualifications.
But Roberti is running for U.S. Congress from Connecticut’s 5th District, and he’s spent more than any other candidate, of either party. He’s received more than $1 million in contributions from out-of-state corporate interests. He’s been endorsed by nationally known political figures including New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy.
A secretive out-of-state “Super PAC” has spent more than $413,000 running negative TV ads against his two opponents.
Despite a thin resume and lamenting of his own struggle to pay student loans and make ends meet as he was raised by a single mom, Roberti found $835,000 over the past month in personal funds to loan to his campaign.
And according to CTNewsJunkie.Com, he could pull off a shocking upset in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, Aug. 14. According to unnamed sources, internal polling conducted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee shows Roberti leading former state Rep. Elizabeth Esty and scandal-plagued Connecticut Speaker of the House Chris Donovan.
That would be a huge swing from a poll conducted on behalf of Donovan’s campaign in June that showed Roberti with 12 percent to Esty’s 25 percent and Donovan’s 45 percent. It’s amazing what hundreds of thousands of dollars in negative TV ads can do.
So who is Dan Roberti, and why is he in this position?
All signs point to his father, Vin Roberti, a former Connecticut state representative, turned failed Bridgeport mayoral candidate, turned bankrupt developer, turned exonerated arson-for-insurance-scam suspect, turned big-time Washington, D.C., lobbyist and movie producer.
Vin Roberti operates one of the biggest and most powerful lobbying firms in the country, and he has landed millions of dollars in tax benefits, stimulus dollars and government bailouts for clients such as General Motors, AT&T and Citigroup.
Vin Roberti’s political and corporate connections filled Dan Roberti’s campaign coffers–with more than 95 percent of the money coming from outside of the 5th District.
When those contacts exhausted the maximum contributions they could give and Dan Roberti’s fundraising slowed, they took advantage of the Supreme Court’s controversial “Citizens United” ruling and formed a Super PAC to bypass those limits.
Under the new rules, donors–including corporations–can give unlimited amounts of money to a Dan Roberti-supporting Super PAC, “New Directions for America.”
Exploiting a Federal Elections Commission reporting loophole, the group is keeping its donors secret until after the Aug. 14 primary.
So we don’t know who is trying to help the young Roberti win a seat in Congress, to the tune of $413,000 and counting, and we won’t, until it’s too late to influence Democratic primary voters.
And where did the homeless shelter manager-turned-public relations consultant get $835,000 to sink into his own campaign at the last minute?
Some clue might be found in his revelation in FEC documents last year that through a trust fund, he owns 50 percent of his father’s lobbying business. Dan Roberti told The Register Citizen a few weeks ago that he’s “divesting” of his stake in Roberti and Associates, and the proceeds could be the source of his new-found wealth.
But we won’t know that, for sure, either, because Dan Roberti received an extension from the FEC on the reporting of his 2012 personal financial disclosure documents. They’re not due now until 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 13, the night before the election.
And although Dan Roberti said he was willing to answer all questions about his personal finances, his grasp on the details was fuzzy. He said he wasn’t too clear on which entities related to which parts of his father’s business, that it was complicated and in the hands of accountants and attorneys. He said that his “father was buying him out” of his share in the lobbying business, and then called back shortly after a story was posted to say that he’d misspoke, and it was actually his brother who was buying him out.
The only thing that’s clear from the messy details of this shadowy campaign: Vin Roberti’s fingerprints are all over it.