Gov. Dannel Malloy's recent fundraising trip to California is raising concern and now he's responding to the criticism.
John McKinney, the Republican leader of the state Senate, wants to know whether the governor was the guest of Lenny Mendonca, a man who founded the Public Sector Practice at McKinsey and Company, that held state contracts totalling $4 million.
"It's simply wrong for the Governor of Connecticut to solicit and raise money for state contractors period," said McKinney.
McKinney said that may be a violation of campaign finance laws.
At a mid-afternoon news conference Governor Malloy said he didn't solicit Mendonca.
"I think I did have contact with such a person but not in a connection with raising, to the best of my knowledge, money for a Democratic cause," Malloy said. "When we raise money it is our intention to live by all the rules and what's what we are doing and if we discover that we haven't in some future date we'll rectify the situation."
Malloy stressed he isn't a candidate for governor yet and wasn't raising money for himself.
The trip to California was announced by the State Democratic Party on Friday but not many specifics were given.
Speaking with reporters Wednesday the governor was rather tight lipped when asked where exactly he went and how many fundraisers he attended.
"I dont have all of that in my mind," Malloy said. "Suffice it to say I'm trying to raise Democratic causes. We will try to get you some additional information."
McKinney, who is running for governor on the Republican ticket, said this is not a political issue but rather an ethical one.
"I have a long track record of criticizing potential wrongdoing whether I have been a candidate for governor or not," he said.
Late Wednesday evening, the Connecticut Democratic Party issued a written statement from James Hallinan:
"While Governor Malloy is not currently a candidate for Governor, he supports the Connecticut Democratic Party and Democratic candidates by fundraising for the party. In doing so, the Governor follows both the letter and spirit of the law at every level.
The Connecticut Democratic Party raises money into two committees. The first is the state committee, which could be used to directly support the gubernatorial candidate of the Democratic Party, as well as other state candidates. That committee cannot and does not accept contributions from state contractors. Neither the Governor, nor anyone else, has or will solicit such contributions.
The federal committee is governed by federal law. Since the committee is a federal committee, there is no restriction on contributions by state contractors. In addition, the ways in which these federal funds can be used to benefit state candidates are limited.
And, when the governor is participating in fundraising for any other political committee or organization, neither he nor the Connecticut Democratic Party will have any opportunity to control or coordinate the expenditure of those funds.
The Connecticut Democratic Party will continue to aggressively fundraise going forward. Why? Because the GOP, Tea Party groups and super-PACs, like the one Tom Foley runs, are expected to unleash millions and millions of dollars into Connecticut for the 2014 election cycle.