Stickin’ With Chris Donovan

No, the headline doesn’t echo my sentiments because I’ve been a Donovan critic all along. But the faithful in the left wing of the Democratic Party is standing by its man.

Even after the recent arrest of Josh Nassi, one of Donovan’s closest aides, union bosses and liberal activists continue to insist that nothing uncovered so far has directly tied their man to the scandal. They are unconvinced by the convincing logic that if Donovan knew about the alleged crimes committed in his congressional campaign, then he should be in jail. Or if he did not know about the chicanery, then he is a clueless doormat.

My guess is the truth lies somewhere in between. Donovan might have told his underlings to get money for the campaign any way they could. He didn’t want to know the details because he was too busy with his duties as speaker of the state House of Representatives. If that’s what he suggested to them, then it would essentially be an open invitation to his staff to cut corners or break the law.

What many of Donovan’s admirers don’t understand is that the tone is set at the top in any organization. If Donovan sends signals — subtle or otherwise — that the law is an inconvenience to be overcome, then the people who work for him will do it. It is simply inconceivable that Nassi, who was Donovan’s legislative chief of staff before leaving to run his congressional campaign, would be a party to this money laundering scheme if he thought his boss would be horrified by it.

Plus, this isn’t the first time Donovan has erred on the side of excess. As Dick Ahles helpfully pointed out in a column a couple days ago in The Day, there is the matter of Donovan’s arrogance in refusing to step down in a timely manner from the redistricting committee and his incredibly boneheaded attempt to reward his predecessor as speaker, James Amann, with a cushy job as his special assistant at a salary of $120,000 a year.

Donovan just makes one mistake after another. Over the years, he’s almost made as many as senate candidate Susan Bysiewicz, although in her defense, no one from her floundering campaign has been indicted.

I understand the passion Donovan’s supporters have for the man. Like the fellow he is pictured with above, Donovan was a community organizer. He was also a union official himself and believes to his core that the government needs to grow with money provided by the wealthy among us. In other words, Donovan is a staunch advocate for the causes of his followers. Indeed, he is one of them.

But at a certain point, passion must give way to reality. It was doubtful that Donovan could have won a general election in the moderate fifth district anyway, but with the stench of scandal looming over his campaign, it will be all but impossible for him to pull out a victory over state Sen. Andrew Roraback, the clean-government advocate and likely GOP nominee. Adding to Donovan’s woes, pressure is mounting for a legislative probe.

Imagine what happens if Donovan wins the Aug. 14 primary and is subsequently indicted or arrested before the Nov. 6 election. According to Democratic Party Executive Director Jonathan Harris, members of the Democratic State Central Committee from the fifth district would get together in a smoke-filled room and pick the nominee.

The Republicans will salivate over that one. Tammany Hartford, baby!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rich-White/100000066062155 Rich White

    Donovan is irresistable to the Democrats. Like Eddie Perez it will be months after the Teflon Don is arrested before the Democrats admit to themselves they made a mistake.

  • Jnlw

    Mr. Cowgill seems to be fascinated by the story he has constructed and cloaked Mr. Donovan with. He seems clearly uncomfortable by the fact that unions support Donovan. I have not read of Cowgill attacking or even commenting on politicians who are supported by corporations or their front groups; politics offers numerous examples of corporate support for republican politicians. In his comments he goes on at length with a story that he has constructed and proceeds from his story outline to criticize Mr. Donovan for actions that have their source in Mr. Cowgill’s ability to tell an interesting story. Whether Mr. Donovan is guilty or not, time will tell. What is certain is Mr. Cowgill’s unseemly attitude by which he follows the well-worn ploy taken by many polemists; let’s hang him and then give him a trial.

  • El_Chicharito

    The part I think you’ve got wrong: “It was doubtful that Donovan could have won a general election in the moderate fifth district anyway…”

  • Rsltmu

    Terry Cowgill has it absolutely right. The bottom line is that a vote for Chris Donovan in the August 14 primary is really a vote for Andrew Roraback. If Donovan gets the Democratic nomination, Roraback is certain to win in November. It’s time Democrats — and Independents — to get behind Elizabeth Esty, who has the intelligence and experience needed to carry on Chris Murphy’s good work in the House.