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3/18/2015 - Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch’s Office Responds to Former Connecticut Governor Being Sentenced for Public Corruption

“Public corruption isn't a victimless crime. It hurts everyone in our community because it’s bad for the image of our city and our state and keeps investors from creating jobs and growing their businesses here. Bridgeport – and Connecticut as a whole – is turning a corner, getting better every day, and we cannot afford to let corrupt politicians move us backwards. Unfortunately, today’s headlines show that more must to be done to dissuade elected officials from crimes of public corruption.” – Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch Spokesperson Brett Broesder

Bridgeport, Conn. (March 18, 2015) – Today, former Connecticut Governor John Rowland was sentenced to 30 months in jail for campaign fraud (click here for more: http://cour.at/1HZQt0I). In response, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch Spokesperson Brett Broesder made the following statement:

“Public corruption isn't a victimless crime. It hurts everyone in our community because it’s bad for the image of our city and our state and keeps investors from creating jobs and growing their businesses here. Bridgeport – and Connecticut as a whole – is turning a corner, getting better every day, and we cannot afford to let corrupt politicians move us backwards.

“Unfortunately, today’s headlines show that more must to be done to dissuade elected officials from crimes of public corruption. That’s why we support a three-pronged approach to further beat back corruption in our state, including: stronger state laws against public corruption, kicking all corrupt politicians off government pension rolls, and a lifetime disqualification for corrupt politicians to run for office."

For more information, below is a memo that further outlines Bridgeport’s three-pronged recommendation for cracking down on public corruption.

And, here’s a link to a letter that Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch sent to the Co-Chairs of the Judiciary Committee on this proposal: http://bit.ly/1L8DPSp.

 

MEMO: Enhancing state laws in order to crack down on public corruption

FROM: Brett Broesder, City of Bridgeport, Communications Director

TO: Interested parties

 

Public Corruption: Enhancing state laws in order to crack down on public corruption.

 

Our recommendation for beating back public corruption includes: stronger state laws against public corruption, kicking all corrupt politicians off of the pension rolls, a lifetime disqualification for corrupt politicians to run for office.

 

Revocation of pensions

Corrupt politicians shouldn’t receive taxpayer funded pensions. No excuses. Created in 2008, Connecticut’s pension revocation law made it possible to revoke taxpayer funded pensions from corrupt public officials who retired after October 1, 2008. But the law wasn’t made retroactive. We need to fix this. Making this retroactive would make sure taxpayers don’t continue footing the bill for corrupt politicians who have violated the public’s trust.

 

States that currently have stronger pension revocation laws than Connecticut include: California, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania (Click here for more info: http://bit.ly/1wv5OhN).

 

Stronger state laws

Elected officials who violate the public’s trust in Connecticut are too often prosecuted at the federal level. That’s because we have much weaker laws than the feds – as well as most other states – when it comes to taking action against public corruption, according the U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly.

 

We must give state prosecutors the tools they need to more effectively prosecute these cases at the state level, including – but not limited to – subpoena power, which will give hardworking taxpayers a fair shot at getting the justice they deserve.

 

States that have tougher laws on public corruption – including higher minimum and maximum years of imprisonment and higher financial penalties – include: Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York, California, Illinois, Maryland, Washington, Georgia, Hawaii, Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana, and North Carolina (Click here for more info: http://bit.ly/1snnnVy).

 

Disqualification from running for future office

People deserve second chances. But we need to set people who are re-entering our community after serving time up for success. So sex offenders shouldn’t work in a day care, and corrupt politicians shouldn’t work in government. Elected officials who commit crimes against the public’s trust shouldn’t be allowed to run again. It’s common-sense, and will help protect taxpayers from future harm.

 

States that currently have a disqualification law include: New York, Michigan, South Carolina, Virginia, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Mississippi, and Montana (Click here for more info: http://bit.ly/1snnnVy).

 

Additional Resources:

  • Governing Magazine. “Scandals Spur Action on Public Forfeitures.” February 29, 2012. Link: http://bit.ly/15svHZi.
  • Governing Magazine. “State Pension Forfeiture Laws.” May 2012. Link: http://bit.ly/1wv5OhN.
  • National Conference of Legislatures. “Penalties for Violations of State Ethics and Public Corruption Laws.” November 7, 2013. Link: http://bit.ly/1snnnVy.
  • New York State Joint Commission of Public Ethics. “Public Officers Law.” November 2012. Link: http://on.ny.gov/1ydB6ds.