The Connecticut Psychological Association is just crazy about Looney.
The CPA’s $250 donation to the mayoral campaign of state Sen. Martin Looney represents one of the 20 donations Looney has received from political action committees. PAC contributions composed 16.8 percent of Looney’s $73,700 campaign funds, while accounting for only 3.8 percent of donations to Mayor John DeStefano Jr.’s $171,175.
Defined by Connecticut law as private vessels through which individuals, businesses and political organizations can contribute to campaigns, PACs have been among several issues raised throughout the race. DeStefano has contended his fund-raising totals reflect more widespread support of individual donors, while Looney’s money reflects the support of a few large groups.
DeStefano’s accusations, or at least the facts behind them, are some of the contentions supported by an analysis of campaign finance documents filed by each campaign and of city contract lists obtained from the city clerk’s office.
While DeStefano targeted Looney over PAC giving, Looney’s campaign manager Jason Bartlett has taken issue with some of the city’s practices of awarding city contracts, alleging they are awarded to only those who donate to the mayor.
Bartlett did not point to any specific examples, however, and a Yale Daily News analysis found 20 companies with city contracts which had been listed as employers of donors to DeStefano’s campaign. No further correlation was apparent.
Five of the officers of New England Development, the firm that was to build the aborted $500 million Galleria at Long Wharf mall, contributed a combined $2,900 on May 17 and Nov. 8, 2000.
Among the who’s who of the campaign finance rolls is David Greenberg, a lawyer for the city and secretary for the New Haven Board of Ethics. Greenberg, who contributed $250 to DeStefano’s campaign, raised eyebrows during the last mayoral race when he ruled that the city’s Board of Ethics, the only body that has jurisdiction over ethics complaints against municipal officials, lacked jurisdiction to rule on complaints raised by then-DeStefano challenger James Newton. Newton had claimed that Greenberg’s contribution of $225 to DeStefano’s campaign represented a conflict of interest between Greenberg’s political affiliation and his position on the Board of Ethics.
Among Looney’s campaign contributors are some former friends of the mayor who have parted ways with DeStefano as he continues to burnish his image before the election.
Robert Shaw, Chief Executive Officer of Pilot Pen Corp., contributed $1,000 to Looney’s campaign and has been supporting DeStefano’s opponents ever since their war of words in 1996 over the financial troubles of the Shubert Theater in downtown New Haven. Shaw, a friend of DeStefano’s since they worked together at the Connecticut Tennis Foundation, attacked the mayor for blaming the Shubert’s monetary woes on the theater’s board and for not acknowledging the management’s revitalization efforts.
Another DeStefano foe filling Looney’s coffers is Patricia Cofrancesco, former New Haven corporation counsel. Cofrancesco has been a vocal opponent of DeStefano since she was fired during the mayor’s reshuffling of the office following a 1998 Livable City Initiative scandal. Cofrancesco, who gave Looney’s campaign $550, has long denied playing a major role in the scandal and came out strongly in support of Newton in the last mayoral race. The LCI scandal centered around charges that city officials were given loans intended for low-income city residents.
— YDN Staff Reporter Brian Lee contributed to this report.