By SUSAN HAIGH
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ A former federal prosecutor said Thursday that his internal investigation found no evidence that Connecticut House Speaker Chris Donovan had any involvement or knowledge of an alleged scheme to hide the identity of some donors to his congressional campaign.
Former U.S. Attorney Stanley Twardy, whose probe was paid for by the campaign, said in a summary that he “found nothing to indicate” there were any illegitimate contributions made to Donovan’s race other than the $20,000 under scrutiny by federal authorities.
Donovan is the Democratic Party’s endorsed candidate in the hotly contested 5th District race.
His former finance director, Robert Braddock Jr., was recently arrested and charged conspiring with others to conceal the source of the $20,000. His lawyer says his client is innocent.
Twardy and his law firm reviewed tens of thousands of documents, as well as Donovan’s text messages. He said 13 people, including Donovan, were interviewed. He said Donovan appeared with a lawyer, but he answered every question.
“We found no evidence that Donovan was notified by anybody,” Twardy said, referring to the illegal conduit contributions.
Twardy said his investigation was not able to interview the three staffers fired by Donovan: Braddock, former campaign manager Joshua Nassi and former Deputy Finance Director Sara Waterfall. Lawyers for all three did not allow them to be interviewed pending the criminal investigation. Twardy said a lawyer for Laura Jordan, a legislative aide, also did not allow her to be interviewed.
Twardy said he asked Donovan if he suspected something strange was going on with his campaign, and he said no.
“No rock was left unturned on this one,” said Twardy, when asked about whether he was unbiased, given that Donovan’s campaign is paying him for the review.
Some of Donovan’s opponents in the 5th Congressional District race aren’t satisfied that an internal investigation clears the Democrat from any culpability in the alleged scheme to hide the identity of some donors to his campaign.
Republican State Sen. Andrew Roraback, the GOP’s endorsed candidate in the race, said Thursday that even if Donovan had no knowledge of the alleged scheme, “it calls into question the manner in which he is conducting his campaign.”
Republican candidate Mark Greenberg called on Donovan to suspend his campaign, saying the report by a former federal prosecutor is incomplete and “leaves many questions unanswered.”
Tom Swan, Donovan’s campaign manager, said “the report speaks for itself” and the campaign looks forward to talking about the Democrats’ plans to help voters.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)