Canty Files Finance Complaint Against McGee Campaign

Canty claims a recent $40,000 in contributions to McGee's campaign violate campaign finance guidelines agreed upon by both candidates in the fifth district race for the Democratic nomination.

The Leo Canty campaign filed a campaign finance complaint with the state elections enforcement commission (SEEC) Monday, alleging his fellow Democrat and opponent in the race for the party's fifth district nomination, Brandon McGee, "violated state campaign finance law by benefiting from independent expenditures totaling nearly $40,000 from the Great New England Public Schools Alliance (GNEPSA). GNEPSA is tied to StudentsFirst, the education privatization group headed by Michelle Rhee," according to a statement released by the campaign.

According to SEEC filings, GNEPSA, an organization that names its largest private financial backers in recent months as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Dr. Steve Perry of Hartford's Capitol Prep, ConnAd and StudentsFirst, has made three independent expenditures in support of McGee since Wed., Sept. 26.

GNEPSA's contributions were given directly to three Washington, D.C.-based organizations (SDK Knickerbocker, Switchboard Communications and Civic Census Group) for canvassing, setting up a phone bank and campaign advertisements.

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Canty harshly criticized the contributions Monday, saying, "Brandon's campaign literature focuses on building strong public schools, yet he’s the beneficiary of a shocking and possibly illegal campaign contributions [sic] from a group that wants to destroy our public schools – a group launched by Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital, no less. This is unacceptable on every level.”

While GNEPSA, a group with interests in education legislation, may be working to get McGee's name out, McGee emphasized his independence from the group's actions, Monday.

"I have not received money from anybody. I have no control over contributions," he said, pointing out that candidates, according to campaign finance rules, "have no idea who's contributing or giving to the campaign."

"We have $524 in our account... We're running on little to no money. Everything we're doing now, with hundreds of volunteers, is because people believe in what I stand for," McGee added.

Explaining that he has "no control over organizations looking to advance their own interests," McGee said he sees GNEPSA's involvement, as asserted by others, as an effort against Canty's run for election.

"They're using me to get to him, and it's unfortunate" said McGee. "It's unfortunate that four days before an election... these people can just come out of nowhere and do what they want, and the candidate has no control over it."

Liam Sweeney of the McGee campaign agreed, pointing out that GNEPSA's involvement "is not about Leo and Brandon."

It's about two groups with education interests at stake, said Sweeney, explaining that Canty, who is vice president of Connecticut's American Federation of Teachers (AFT), received financial support from the AFT.

According to SEEC filings, the AFT contributed $1,500 to the Canty campaign through Grassroots Strategies, Inc.

The candidates, Sweeney said, "are caught in a war" between the two groups.

Canty campaign manager Al Simon denounced GNEPSA's support of the McGee campaign, saying the contribution "has nothing to do with issue advocacy and everything to do with stealing the election."

According to state documents, the Citizen's Election Program is a voluntary program, through which eligible candidates receive full public campaign financing. The program, according to the state, was implemented to avoid a candidate's "reliance on special interest money," to relieve candidates of special interest influence, to restore public confidence in government, to aid in public access to campaign finance information and to encourage citizen participation in campaigns.

The Canty campaign alleges the McGee campaign "violated the spirit and letter" of the campaign finance laws and violatedof section 9-703 of the Connecticut General Statutes, which addresses a candidate's agreement to abide by campaign expenditure limits outlined in the Citizen's Election Program.

The linchpin to the allegations made by the Canty campaign, according to complaint filed, is "circulating literature with a picture of Brandon McGee that does not appear on any of his own campaign literature and could only have been obtained by coordination of this expenditure with the McGee campaign."

According to McGee, he learned of GNEPSA's contribution and subsequent allegations of a campaign finance law violation through social media.

Outside of denying any involvement with GNEPSA's efforts, McGee said he's looking forward to finishing a positive campaign.

"My opponent is looking to divide [people]," McGee said in reference to the Canty campaign's allegations. "I can't compete with all the negativity. I'm seeking to bring people together, even and if it takes going through challenging moments like this, and that's what you want in a leader."

Sweeney said the campaign will continue to stick to what has worked: "Old school politics, door knocking and making phone calls."

"It's unfortunate there's a change in tone," Sweeney added, referencing the allegations, "but Brandon and the campaign will remain positive... Brandon and I both have respect for Canty and his campaign."

Canty and McGee will appear on the Democratic ballot during Windsor and Hartford's October 2 primary. In Windsor, voting districts one, two and three (L.P. Wilson, John F. Kennedy School and 330 Windsor Ave.) are open.

The winner of the primary will be named the Democratic party's nominee in the race for fifth district state representative, and will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot against Republican candidate Paul Panos.

tchjjal October 02, 2012 at 12:53 AM
It's great to see the liberals picking on one another for a change!
Michael Brown October 02, 2012 at 11:31 AM
The out-of-state right-wing (Michele Rhee) is putting her two cents ($40,000) in this election. I'm sure the schools will be fine (read sarcasm). Dems need to reject Bain Capital's intrusion in Windsor. Vote for Canty in today's primary..
james walsh October 02, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Go Brandon McGee! You have Leo Canty jealous of a contribution and he is now running scared. The time has come to elect leaders with a mind set to change the strangle hold the teachers union and politicians have on our public education system. Politicians like Al Simmon and Leo Canty are teachers union lovers and all about status quote for our children’s education and spend, spend, spend is there solution to fix the problems within. Politicians that align themselves with large a group of voters like the teachers union in my opinion do so to take the easy way to a vote. When you’re elected Brandon we have high expectations for you to make a difference.
tchjjal October 02, 2012 at 02:24 PM
You'd be surprised how many schools, unions, etc. are invested in Bain Capital before you demonise that company. You need to know the facts!
tchjjal October 02, 2012 at 02:27 PM
From what I'm hearing directly from one of the teachers in Windsor's school systems is that they are NOT HAPPY with the unions that are representing them at all.... The money is not getting where it is supposed to....and that is the kids!
Albert Williams October 02, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Brandon - don't worry about a Finance Complaint if its anything like a Town of Windsor ETHICS Complaint...right Al Simon?
Michael Brown October 02, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Yes. I'm sure all the teachers would like to set themselves up to be fired when the less fortunate kids in their classroom get low CAPT scores.
R Eleveld October 02, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Bain has nothing that I know of to do with this situation. The tossing of Bain is very partisan liberal reaction and it smells of hypocrisy: Do as I say but don't do as I do. The liberal union elite had and has funds invested with Bain Capital. Such a horrible operation, yet they are happy to whistle to the bank for the benefit of their organsizations. Article links at the bottom. Bain’s private-equity executives have enriched dozens of organizations and millions of individuals in the Democratic base — including some who scream most loudly for President Obama’s re-election. Government-worker pension funds are the chief beneficiaries of Bain’s economic stewardship. New York-based Preqin uses public documents, news accounts and Freedom of Information requests to track private-equity holdings. Since 2000, Preqin reports, the following funds have entrusted some $1.56 billion to Bain: * Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund * Indiana Public Retirement System * Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System * The Los Angeles Fire and Police Pension System * Maryland State Retirement and Pension System * Public Employees’ Retirement System of Nevada * State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio * Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System * Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island * San Diego County Employees Retirement Association * Teacher Retirement System of Texas * Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (Continued to 2)
R Eleveld October 02, 2012 at 03:28 PM
(Continued from 1) These funds aggregate the savings of millions of unionized teachers, social workers, public-health personnel and first responders. Many would be startled to learn that their nest eggs are incubated by the company that Romney launched and the financiers he hired. Leading universities have also profited... endowments and foundations such as Columbia, Princeton and Yale universities.... Cornell, Emory, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Notre Dame and the University of Pittsburgh.... * Purdue University * University of California * University of Michigan * University of Virginia * University of Washington Major, center-left foundations and cultural establishments... Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Doris Duke Foundation, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Ford Foundation, the Heinz Endowments and the Oprah Winfrey Foundation. Look who parks their cash at Bain http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/look_who_parks_their_cash_at_bain_88KSQrw8BXciEidja2ZQXN Bain Capital entrusted with Ohio teachers retirement funds http://thirdbasepolitics.blogspot.com/2012/09/bain-capital-entrusted-with-ohio.html
Al Simon October 02, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Ron- Bain & Co launches Michelle Rhee's Student First organization. They are quite proud of it. please see this link to their website http://www.bain.com/offices/social_impact/issues/education.aspx
Tessa Marquis October 02, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Please people! Get your thoughts straightened out. There is a reason the outside right-wing organization has come to Windsor Connecticut. If they don't want Leo Canty to be a State Rep it simply means that right-wing, anti Union, big money slingers are afraid of him. Ask yourselves what they want? It certainly is not a desire for unions, they are on the record as being union busters. It certainly is not a concern for children. For me, this is odd and suspicious. I trust Leo Canty and I definitely don't trust Michele Rhee. Don't let your right to vote be tampered with or influenced by a blitz campaign. And Don't get turned off to the process, be sure to vote. It is free.
Douglas Woods October 02, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Ha ha...good one Albert!
R Eleveld October 02, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Alan, This is directly from Students First: Dear Ronald, Thanks for reaching out... The claim that Bain Capitol is financing StudentsFirst is untrue, as confirmed by our publicly available 990s... Regards, Arman You should do your research, a Wiki search would have sufficed and it would have said: "Bain & Company, This article is about the management consulting company. For the investment firm, see Bain Capital.". So Bain & Company is NOT Bain Capital. I stand by my statement.
R Eleveld October 02, 2012 at 08:19 PM
@Tessa, I want to make sure... Union people working with educators (teachers unions) are there because of concern for kids, other than as a means to a pay check? Yet right wingers are there with no concern for kids as a means to a paycheck? So do you not see a problem with that logic. The reader must understand the only purpose a union has is to work on the behalf of its members, not the administrators, not the parents, not the taxpayers, and not the students. A union is to protect the employees working to provide them higher wages, better working conditions, better benefits. None of those things relate to a better education for our students. If, in the performance of their duties, a student somehow is benefited, that is an unforeseen bonus. It is clearly not their duty. To speak to the contrary is disingenuous, and at best a mis-direction. Parent Choice would most benefit at risk kids re-allocating scarce resources and allowing for a more advantageous result. Think for a moment how hard you would fight to keep your job. Then consider what it might mean if you could vote for someone that would do that for you regardless of who it might hurt. Just saying.
Al Simon October 02, 2012 at 09:10 PM
Never said they financed Students First. By Bain's admission they launched Students First, providing their "strategic plan". You Ron, should read what I wrote.
tchjjal October 02, 2012 at 10:08 PM
Why is it the left are always looking to divide?
Guyrene October 03, 2012 at 12:07 AM
james, apparently you would have benefited from paying more attention in your English classes. And, the ideas that any group that represents less than five percent of the population has a "strangled hold" on anything sounds like you also did not pay too much attention to your math classes.
Guyrene October 03, 2012 at 12:21 AM
Al, Ron has a malady that is common with the extreme right. This allows the right to justify the millions in salaries and tax breaks for the rich. On the other hand any organization (especially unions) that supports good wages and lower taxes for their much, much lower paid membership is somehow completely evil. LOL
Douglas Woods October 03, 2012 at 01:06 AM
I sense an upset in the works....
R Eleveld October 03, 2012 at 01:27 AM
Al, the Bain & Company you referenced was an attempt to impugn through association the Romney Bain or Students First. The latter you would want to make look bad, because of political reasons. Bain & Company is a management consultant and unrelated to Bain Capital of Romney fame. Now if you say that Bain and Company (non-Romney) is somehow bad, you will have to explain the grounds for that comment. I stand by my comments.
tchjjal October 03, 2012 at 02:17 AM
I read what you wrote earlier in a Canty article regarding the contribution....demonizing capitalists..... Sorry sir, but I believe your place of work involves capitalism as well as maybe a corporation! You shouldn't bite the hand that feeds you...
R Eleveld October 03, 2012 at 04:10 AM
@Guyrene, I am far from extreme right, so your comment is based upon inaccurate conjecture. Low wages and low taxes indicates you are living in a dream world of mythic proportions. The poor will always pay the greatest amount in taxes relative to income, directly or indirectly, because tax costs do get passed down. Raise the taxes on the rich and the poor pay in the costs of the products they purchase. The rich still have their money and the poor are just plain poorer. That is how it works. When you try to help the poor you more often hurt the poor in the process. 2,500 year old comment that is valid today.
R Eleveld October 03, 2012 at 04:17 AM
@Guyrene, the unions set the wage rates in a skewed system, That cost is passed to the tax payers through higher taxes. As I have written many times, public service unions have gotten >10% compounded raises over the past 5 years, and in the private sector the average workers has seen a -0- percent increase in income, and has seen an increase in benefit costs. So explain how long you think this system can continue? Public sector unions are disconnected with the realities and in part because they overwhelmingly support the Democrats who in turn make sure to keep the union rank and file happy, who then keep the Democrats in power, and the cycle continues. The losers are the taxpayers because they and we get to pick up the tab. Show e how I am wrong. Show me some CT unions that regularly support Republicans. Point made.
R Eleveld October 03, 2012 at 04:21 AM
I just saw on the news. McGee over Canty by ~150 votes. Leo Canty and Brandon McGee fought the good fight, and should be congratulated on a cleanish race. Leo fought hard, and I thought he might have gotten it, however it appears that Brandon was able to pull it off, even if it was not all his doing. Congratulations to Leo and to Brandon for a well run race. If Windsor wants a Windsor representative I guess the only choice is the Republican candidate Paul Panos.
james walsh October 03, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Guyrene whoever you are is that all you can offer for solutions is spell check? McGee you're a young Dem show your I'm not good in math left winger liberal fellow Dem's that you can make a difference in this over taxed under educated district. Cantys gone that is a good start for Windsor! Now Windsor needs to vote the almighty confrontational left winger Al Simmon out next election season and with a little help from Bain it can be done.


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