HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — Connecticut state Democrats criticized potential Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley and called for an apology Sunday, after he leveled several unsubstantiated conflict-of-interest allegations against Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
Foley, who narrowly lost to Malloy in the 2010 governor’s race, made the accusations on Hartford CBS affiliate WFSB-TV’s “Face the State” program that aired Sunday and called on Malloy to address them.
“I’ve just been really disappointed about what goes on at the capitol the more I learn about the relationships up there – the conflicts of interest – and I’m concerned and in some ways disgusted,” Foley said. “And I think the governor has contributed to this. I think he had an opportunity when he was elected to talk about transparency, and he had an opportunity to set a new standard, but he hasn’t. In fact, he may have taken it to a new level.”
He prefaced the remarks by acknowledging he hadn’t investigated the allegations, saying he was “not a news organization.”
“But these are all things that have been told to me by more than one reliable source – so it meets a journalistic standard — and they’re things that are believed, so they’re a problem whether they’re true or not,” Foley said. “But it seems that there’s some substance to them, but I can’t confirm that they’re true.”
Foley, former U.S. ambassador to Ireland, announced last week that he was weighing another run for governor and forming a committee to explore his prospects for the 2014 race. Malloy hasn’t said whether he’ll seek a second term.
A Malloy aide and the state Democratic Party immediately shot back at Foley on Sunday, saying his allegations of ethical wrongdoing were not true. The state party also rehashed an issue in the 2010 governor’s race, calling on Foley to release records of his arrests in 1981 and 1993.
In his interview, Foley alleged that state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Daniel Esty got his job after he or his consulting firm gave Malloy a consulting fee or something else of value before the 2010 election. Foley claimed any such contribution could potentially be illegal — but said he had no details to give on any kind of payment.
Foley also questioned why a public relations firm where former Malloy senior adviser Roy Occhiogrosso now works received a contract to handle communications for the state’s health care exchange.
Foley also claimed state and local officials seeking state bond money feel they have a better chance at getting approval if they employ the law firm of Pullman & Comley, the firm where Andrew McDonald, a state Supreme Court justice nominated by Malloy and former legal counsel to Malloy’s office, was a partner.
“Mr. Foley’s allegations are factually incorrect,” Malloy spokesman Andrew Doba said in a statement. “The reason he can’t back them up is because they’re untrue. Mr. Foley owes everyone to whom he referred an immediate apology.”
Added the Connecticut Democratic Party in a statement, “Every single one of the allegations Mr. Foley made are factually incorrect, and that’s why he can’t back them up. Speaking of disclosure, Mr. Foley has steadfastly refused to release his arrest records.”
Foley has acknowledged being arrested in 1981 in connection with a car accident and in 1993 on a breach of peace charge involving a dispute with his wife. He said the charges were dropped in both cases.
In an interview later Sunday with The Associated Press, Foley responded to the Democrats’ statements and shrugged off questions about his arrests.
“It doesn’t have anything to do with me,” Foley said. “I’m talking about the governor’s record and things that are being said about him that bring into question the ethical standards and the confidence the citizens have in him.”
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