Lawmakers Release Subpoenas In Donovan Probe
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Leaders of the Connecticut General Assembly on Friday released copies of federal grand jury subpoenas stemming from a probe into former House Speaker Chris Donovan’s failed congressional campaign, documents that indicate the investigation is continuing.
Two subpoenas were issued late last year to the Office of Legislative Management, one on Oct. 17 and another on Nov. 14.
One sought emails of one of Donovan’s former legislative aides as well as any documents concerning a bill imposing taxes on roll-your-own tobacco shop owners and another bill authorizing hundreds of millions of dollars in state bonding. The second subpoena sought documents involving several other legislative employees and their dealings with the same two bills.
Legislative leaders circulated the subpoenas to the media on Friday with permission from U.S. Attorney David B. Fein, who had originally asked the legislature not to release, discuss or acknowledge the existence of the subpoenas because it could interfere with an ongoing investigation.
“At that time, the risk posed by disclosure was substantial,” Fein wrote in a letter dated Thursday. “At this time, it now appears unlikely that disclosure of copies of the subpoenas themselves would interfere with this office’s ongoing investigation.”
The Office of Legislative Management, which overseas operations at the state Capitol, had received several Freedom of Information requests for copies of the subpoenas.
Last summer, eight people including Donovan’s former 5th Congressional District campaign manager and former top legislative aide, Joshua Nassi, were arrested and accused of conspiring to hide the source of $27,500 in campaign contributions. The contributions were allegedly tied to an effort to defeat state legislation to raise taxes on “roll-your-own” smoke shop owners.
A couple of participants in the alleged scheme have since pleaded guilty.
Donovan, of Meriden, who has not been charged with any crime and denied any knowledge of the alleged conspiracy, wound up losing the Democratic primary to former state Rep. Elizabeth Esty. He decided not to continue running as a Working Families Party candidate and Esty ultimately won the 5th District seat the November election.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.