While Senate Republican leader John McKinney says Democratic congressional candidate Christopher Donovan should step down as speaker of the state House of Representatives, Donovan’s Republican house counterpart says he’s reserving judgment.
House Minority Leader Larry Cafero says that he’s shocked by the federal allegations of illegal campaign contributions and by the recent arrest of a Donovan campaign staffer. Still, Cafero says he wants to hear Donovan’s explanation before commenting on whether speaker should retain his leadership position.
“I think it’s premature to say whether or not someone is fit to continue in the officer or not,” Cafero said. “We just don’t know yet.”
Cafero says he hasn’t yet spoken with Donovan, but he’s urging the Meriden Democrat to explain himself and his campaign.
“I’ve been in the state legislature for 20 years,” Cafero said, “and I could never ever even think of even a suggestion that somebody paid money for a bill to be called or not called et cetera et cetera to someone in a position to make that happen.”
Donovan is the endorsed Democrat in the 5th District race. His campaign finance director, Robert Braddock Jr., was arrested by federal authorities Wednesday in an alleged conspiracy to hide the source of $20,000 in campaign contributions connected to an effort to kill legislation this year that would have raised taxes on “roll-your-own” smoke shop owners. The bill never left the legislature.
But according to the Connecticut Mirror, Democratic leaders have discussed the prospect of bringing the measure up again in the special legislative session later this month.
Cafero, who opposes the bill because he considers it a new tax, said to raise the matter again would be “adding insult to injury.”
Donovan’s campaign has scheduled a 3 p.m. press conference at the state capitol.
An AP report is included in this story.