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State Democrats Return Donation After GOP Allegations Of “Perceived Payoff”

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ The state Democratic Party is returning a $10,000 contribution from the chief executive of Comcast-Spectacor and owner of the Philadelphia Flyers, saying it has learned he could be a state contractor.

Connecticut law prohibits contractors that do business with the state and their executives from donating to a state political party’s state-regulated account.
Comcast-Spectacor is the parent company of Global Spectrum, which won a state contract to manage the XL Center in Hartford and Rentschler Field in East Hartford.

“After learning further financial information regarding Comcast-Spectacor’s relationship with Global Spectrum, the Connecticut Democratic Party has decided to issue a refund to Mr. Snider for his contribution,” party spokesman James Hallinan said in a statement late Wednesday.

Snider reported that he wasn’t a state contractor or the head of a company with a state contract when he made the contribution in August, according to the Journal Inquirer . He listed his employer as Spectacor, which isn’t on the list of companies that can’t contribute, Hallinan said.

Sen. John McKinney, the Senate’s Republican leader and candidate for governor next year, called for an investigation. He said the donation “reeks of `pay for play.”’

House Republican leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr. of Norwalk said Gov. Dannel P. Malloy should pull $1.8 million from the state Bond Commission’s agenda for upgrades to the XL Center, Hartford’s downtown arena, and Rentschler Field in East Hartford. He called it a “perceived payoff.”

“In the spirit of avoiding any appearance of impropriety and of keeping a clean campaign finance system in Connecticut, I hope you will seriously consider my suggestion,” Cafero wrote to the Democratic governor’s budget office.

Malloy refused to remove the item from Friday’s agenda.

Andrew Doba, a spokesman for Malloy, said the money is part a $35 million allocation that was approved by the legislature and is intended solely for the XL Center.

“Larry Cafero’s grandstanding aside, this funding will go toward much-needed upgrades and renovations that are intended to make sure the XL Center continues to be an economic driver for the region,” he said.
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Information from: Journal Inquirer, http://www.journalinquirer.com

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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