HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Governor Malloy is taking some heat from a top Republican lawmaker for taking a trip to DC on People Magazine's dime.
The governor was right there, along with political power-brokers and Hollywood stars, at the White House Correspondent's dinner on Saturday night.
News 8 has learned that the Governor never asked for an opinion from the Office of State Ethics about accepting plane fare, hotel accommodations, and a ticket to the Washington Correspondents Association Dinner from People Magazine, saying that a previous decision from that office on his trade mission to Davos, Switzerland that was paid for by the University of Connecticut Foundation covered it.
"We have a prohibition on any corporation giving a gift to a public official of more than $100 a year period. There are exceptions to that, none of which the Governor's detailed he's met," said Sen. John McKinney.
The Governor's office has estimated the covered costs at about $1,000, and that it was gift to the state, not the Governor, and he used the trip to market Connecticut to digital media big shots at what is considered one of the biggest social event of the year in Washington.
"The Governor at a party is not a gift to the state, traditionally; gifts to the state have been corporations training state officials for free for example," said McKinney.
The Governor's office says it was okay for People Magazine to pick up the tab because People Magazine is not a state contractor and doesn't have a lobbyist at the State Capitol.
"People Magazine is owned by Time Inc., they don't have a lobbyist in Connecticut but they are a member of an association that hires a lobbyist to lobby us here in Connecticut. This thing smells, the Governor made a mistake," said McKinney.
Late today the Governor's legal counsel issued this statement:
"Out of an abundance of respect for Connecticut's ethics laws, the Governor's office will seek a formal advisory opinion of the Citizen's Ethics Advisory Board."
The Governor's spokesman, Andrew Doba, noted Wednesday, and it should be mentioned that Senator McKinney is a potential Malloy rival for the Governorship next year.
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