I guess all is fair when you decide to enter the dirty, in the gutter game of politics.
An article posted on Courant.com tonight detailed allegations that Hartford Councilperson Matt Ritter received an endorsement from a group called "Voices of Women of Color". click here to read the full story It seems that the same group received payments directly from Ritter's campaign for "consultant" work.
Although I agree that there should be some sort of disclosure to keep everything in the open, but why is Ritter being singled out? Maybe as the perceived front runner it might be an easy shot to take by an opponent trying to regain some ground three days before a primary. Maybe it was a shot taken by another group that wasn't given a "consultant" fee and wants their piece of the CEP pie.
Whether Ritter is right or wrong is up to voters to decide on Tuesday. The problem seems to even more widespread amongst others on the Democratic endorsed Row A. It seems that Ritter might not be the only one wheeling and dealing for endorsements.
Although most people have never heard of the "Voices of Women of Color" (sorry Janice)they do have influence door to door in Ritter's campaign area.
One group that most people have heard of though is Connecticut's "Working Families Party". Their strength is based more in Hartford with the election of Urania Petit as the WFP Registrar of Voters in Hartford, and two Council seats went to the WFP in the last council election. Potentially they may become more of a force to be reckoned with statewide in elections.
If Ritter is being criticized for his lack of candor in his endorsements, it pales in comparison to his fellow Row A Democrats.
According to August 3, 2010 financial campaign filings, three Democratic candidates have paid amounts much larger than Ritters payment to people endorsing them. According to the filings, the largest payment was made by FONFARA 2010 to "Working Families Grassroots Strategies, INC." in the amount of $7,800. Fonfara is listed on the Working Families website as one of their endorsed candidates.
Another individual running for the legislature in the district that abuts Ritter's is Windsor's Leo Canty. Canty is also listed on the Working Families website as one of their endorsed candidates. Canty's campaign made a payment of $5,850 to the Working Families "Grassroots Strategies, Inc" on July 15,2010.
Democratic Row A endorsed candidate for Secretary of State, Denise Merrill apparently also realizes the value of the WFP endorsement. Merrill's campaign paid $3714.69 to the Working Families "Grassroots Strategies, Inc." on August 2, 2010.
That's enough digging for tonight, but it seems pretty clear that Matt Ritter hasn't reinvented the wheel when it comes to "obtaining" endorsements.
And in the interest of full disclosure, it's important to say I have not received any "consultant" fees from the Ritter campaign, we could talk though Matt, you have the number
All of these filings can be viewed on-line at ct.gov/seec and then use "e-cris search" to find a candidate by name