Connecticut Governor Releases 4 Years of Tax Returns; Cleared of Donation Violations

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy released his tax returns for the last four years, showing that he and his wife, Cathy Lambert, made a combined $305,534 in 2013. The couple paid $16,832 in state taxes and $65,897 in federal taxes, according to the returns.

According to his 2009 filing, Malloy’s Republican challenger, Tom Foley, earned $1.32 million. 2009 is the most recent year Foley has made his tax returns available. Foley’s camp indicated that he would release his own returns but did not offer an exact date.

Joe Visconti, a Second Amendment activist with Tea Party support who petitioned his way onto the ballot, has also not yet released copies of his returns.

The governor is paid $150,000 to serve Connecticut, about $16,00 more than the average governor’s salary, according to the Council of State Governments. The council reports that the average governor’s salary nationwide is $133,348.

Since taking the office in 2010, Malloy and Lambert have made an approximate average of $285,000 per year. Lambert listed her occupation as director of the Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education. In 2010, Malloy listed an additional $143,000 in income from Class Green Capital Partners. According to the company’s website, they provide “synergistic funding and sustainability solutions” for towns, states and corporations interested in green technology.

Malloy is listed on the Class Green Capital Partners website as a “former colleague.”

In 2010 they claimed $80,802 in deductions, $75,838 in 2011, $24,409 in 2012 and $33,426 in 2013, according to the returns.

The disclosure by Malloy came on the same day he was cleared of taking $50,750 in “offensive" and “disturbing” campaign donations by the State Elections Enforcement Commission.

The donations by Northeast Utilities managers were solicited by Thomas May, the company’s CEO. Last year, May sent out an email to company brass urging them to donate money to Malloy’s campaign. The SEEC investigated the donations, of which $10,000 came from May’s pocket, for violations under the Connecticut State Contractor Ban.

The ban is the result of the actions of former Republican Gov. John Rowland, who was convicted of corruption in 2005 and sentenced to one year in jail with three years of probation.

The SEEC was unable to take any action against the donations because of a technicality. The checks were made out to the “Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee – Federal,” which moved them out of the jurisdiction of the commission, the SEEC said in their report.

“We want to thank the commission for their careful consideration and thorough review of this matter,” Northeast Utilities media representative Al Lara said. “We appreciate the conclusion that this was not a violation of the law. Northeast Utilities takes its legal obligations very seriously.”

The funds donated to the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee are not added to Malloy’s campaign funds. They are funneled through the Democratic Governors Association – which due to the state’s campaign finance laws cannot contribute directly to a campaign.

To circumvent the rules, however, both the DGA and its Republican counterpart, the Republican Governors Association, have turned to Super PACs to use the funds for their respective candidates.

According to August SEEC filings, the associations have spent more than $2 million on the race so far. Through the Connecticut Forward PAC, the DGA has spent $1.25 million toward Malloy’s reelection. The RGA has donated $718,000 through Grow Connecticut to support Foley, who narrowly lost the 2010 gubernatorial election against Malloy. Grow Connecticut also received $60,000 from Citizens for a Sound Government, according to SEEC filings.

An Aug. 22 SEEC filing by Connecticut Forward showed that the PAC paid $834,837 to Great American Media for an ad buy attacking Foley. Their Sept. 16 SEEC filing shows an $8,205 television ad buy from Philadelphia-based Shorr Johnson Magnus Strategic Media. An Internet-based ad buy from Rising Tide Interactive cost $33,685. Their Sept. 17 SEEC filing showed no additional ad buys.

In addition to the donations from the DGA, Connecticut Forward has received $900,000 from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, $250,000 from AFT Solidarity and $125,000 from the Service Employees International Union, according to SEEC documents.

Grow Connecticut, however, has spent less money so far in the race, but has spread out their funds with different content producers. The group spent $40,475 in anti-Malloy TV advertising with Chris Motiola Consulting on Sept. 19, according to their SEEC filing from that day. The filing lists two TV ad buys with California’s Target Enterprises. Both were paid on Sept. 11, one in the amount of $328,180 and the other for $5,392,330.

Another payment on Sept. 11 by the group was used for Internet ads. Grow Connecticut paid Virginia-based IMGE $52,500 for the campaign.

The candidates also have access to public financing money due to the campaign finance changes. The program requires candidates to raise $25,000 in donations of $100 or less from individuals in order to qualify. Both Malloy and Foley have received $6.2 million from the program.

Despite not being a major-party candidate and not having the backing of major PACs or influential powerhouses such as the RGA and DGA, Visconti will forgo accepting taxpayer funds for his campaign, according to his spokesperson Jeff Weiss. Weiss said Visconti has held steadfast in that position “for years” and that he supports repealing the campaign finance laws.

“This year in Connecticut, taxpayers will subsidize election campaigns with nearly $40 million,” Weiss said in an email. “If the law mandating these expenditures were repealed this money could be better used for programs such as social services for the disabled or elderly.”