Transparency has not been a priority for Lamont, Dems By Bob Stefanowski Unfortunately, Democrat personally made on the contract to leaders have driven Connecticut charity. COVID-19 has upended towards less disclosure, more our lives in ways we never could secrecy with little accountability for Over a year later, have anticipated, and the cost to our their actions. It’s almost as if state Connecticut residents are still friends and families has been far officials believe the money they so waiting for an explanation of why greater than any dollar figure could easily spend is theirs. Forgetting the awarding of Sema4 contract was represent. Many will use the crises that is comes from the taxes paid by done, why the payment wasn’t to reflect on what’s truly important hard working people across the disclosed by the Governor to the in life, reevaluate priorities and state. public from the start, how much adjust their behaviors accordingly. money the Lamont’s personally As just one example, made on the deal and whether they Unfortunately, some Governor Ned Lamont’s delivered on their promise to donate Connecticut politicians used the administration awarded a state these profits to charity. opportunity created by the crises to contract to accompany (Sema4) feather their own nests rather than where his wife’s venture capital This type of behavior serving the people they represent. form was invested. The contract was sends a clear message to state and Recently, Democrat State Rep. awarded despite warnings from The local officials across Connecticut. If Michael DiMassa was arrested for Office of State Ethics that contracts our leader’s administration can allegedly stealing more than between Annie Lamont’s firm or grant a contract to his own wife’s $600,000 of $1.2 million in federal any associated companies in the company, not tell anyone about it, funds distributed by the State of State of Connecticut could present a and then break his promise to Connecticut. The monies were conflict of interest. provide an accounting of the profit- intended to help residents and small and get away with it-why should businesses in West Haven get back Governor Lamont, Mrs. anyone in government care about on their feet in the wake of the Lamont, their immediate family and how they spend our money? pandemic. associated businesses are barred from entering into any state Sadly, the lack of It doesn’t get much lower contracts “unless the contract has transparency is not limited to than this. Allegedly taking money been awarded through an open and Sema4, as several other politically intended to help a community public process, including prior connected companies benefitted harmed by a horrible virus and public officer and subsequent public from no-bid state contracts during gambling it away at a local casino. disclosure of all proposals the Covid19 crisis. A If proved to be true, Rep. DiMassa considered and the contracts communications firm run by well- needs to take ultimate responsibility awarded” an advisory opinion from known Democrat operative received and should be prosecuted to the full the Office of Ethics notes. a whopping $250,000 for a 3-month extent of the federal law. contract that was then extended It’s clear, at least to me, despite legitimate concern from But the behavior of people that the award of the Sema4 contract lawmakers and an outraged public. in any organization is set by the ignored this clause of the State tone coming from the top. Leaders Ethic’s option that was meant to Tax payers doled out a set example. Their own actions ensure the transparency and $2.9 million contract to a reveal the values that are important accountability of any transactions Democratic campaign firm for to the organization and those that between the State of Connecticut COVID-19 vaccine outreach to ten are not. Leaders decide the level of and Annie Lamont’s business Connecticut cities, but were never transparency given to key interests. provided with an accounting of how shareholders, whether they are the money was spent. How effective customers, employees, or tax When the contract came was the program? Why did we need payers. to light the Lamont’s decided to a 71-person “vaccine campaign address the situation by suddenly team” to deliver it? How many more agreeing to give any profits they Transparency has not been a priority for Lamont, Dems people were vaccinated because of cases of fraud-and it’s more likely it? Did vaccine hesitancy go down? than not that there were other causes. We need to find them and At the same time, make an example of the people Governor Lamont has limited the responsible. ability of independent agencies to root out waste in these types of Gov. Lamont should inappropriate insider deals-stripping provide a complete accounting of funding from the state’s contracting the money his family made from the renewal board, eliminating staff and tax payers of Connecticut on gutting its ability to do the job. Sema4. The Governor should restore funding to the State To add insult to injury, the Contracting Review board, compel Lamont Administration has officials to comply with outstanding continued to stonewall multiple FOI requests immediately and Freedom of Information requests by increase levels of transparency the news media and others. It took around Government purchases- Kevin Rennie, a lawyer and former particularly in no-bid contracts to Republican State Senator and friends and family. Representative, over two years to obtain texts under an FOI request We need to determine that ultimately showed a troubling why it took a whistle blower to tale of influence revolving a major uncover the fraud in West Haven. corporation and the Governor’s Why didn’t normal checks and inner circle. balances uncover it? Particularly given that West Haven is one of the Gov. Lamont has insisted cities under scrutiny of the State’s on maintaining emergency powers Municipal Accountability Review to oversee the pandemic for two Board! years now-two-thirds of his term in office to date. The types of frauds Each morning, Gov. and irregularities regularly Lamont settles into his oversized occurring now in Connecticut are chair in front of a painting from his exactly what happens when the private art collection called “Right normal checks and balances of to Know” by Norman Rockwell. Government are overridden. The painting created in 1968 at the height of the Vietnam War, in Mr. So how do we fix the Lamont’s words encouraged LBJ to toxic culture that has been created in “just tell them what you’re doing, Connecticut’s State Government? why you’re doing it, and explain it to me”. Changing the culture of any organization starts at the top. It It’s time for the Governor begins by asking tough questions to start practicing what his million- and holding people accountable. We dollar painting preaches. The people should immediately begin a forensic of Connecticut have a right to know. audit of how the COVID-19 relief funds were distributed and spent-in Bob Stefanowski, a essence of a fiscal root canal. With Republican was one of Governor billions of dollars spent, we need to Lamont’s opponents in the 2019 ensure there are not other similar race for Connecticut governor.