Recently, the New Haven Register came out with a blistering editorial directed towards Danbury's dishonest Mayor Boughton and his laughable gubernatorial campaign...and they hit the nail on the head.
Mark Boughton is running for Connecticut governor again, positioning himself as an outsider to state government with a record of accomplishments as Danbury’s longtime mayor.People over politics? Yeah, right...
But a few things have happened on Mayor Mark’s road to Hartford that should raise significant concerns about his commitment to eliminating the state’s culture of public corruption. Twice, in his attempt to raise campaign cash, Boughton has chosen to associate with some of the state’s most ethically challenged political players.
Two years ago, Boughton endorsed millionaire nursing home chain operator Lisa Wilson-Foley in the Republican primary for 5th District Congress … after it was revealed that her husband had been paying “volunteer campaign consultant” John Rowland through his business as a way to skirt federal campaign finance disclosure laws.
Boughton said he believed Wilson-Foley’s insistence at the time that the whole thing was just a remarkable coincidence.
In exchange for his help with the congressional bid, Wilson-Foley donated to Boughton’s mayoral re-election campaign in Danbury and then helped raise money for his gubernatorial race.
Boughton continued to accept help from Wilson-Foley long after it became known that a federal grand jury was investigating Rowland for possible criminal activity in association with the scheme.
It was only after Wilson-Foley and her husband pled guilty and admitted the deliberate attempt to break the law that Boughton sought to distance himself. He chose to give her the benefit of the doubt right up until she and her husband pled guilty and admitted to a deliberate plot with Rowland to break the law and lie to voters. Boughton said he wanted to return Wilson-Foley’s money, but couldn’t because the books for the exploratory campaign she’d given to already were closed.
Boughton faced another fundraising challenge when his lieutenant governor running mate — Groton Town Councilor Heather Bond Somers — dumped him at the Republican State Convention. He was counting on being able to pool his donations with hers in order to qualify for the state’s public campaign financing system.
So Boughton quickly turned to Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti, convincing him to switch from his own longshot gubernatorial candidacy to the lieutenant governor’s race, and even offering volunteers $2 per signatureto help Lauretti petition his way onto the ballot.
Lauretti has little public support or name recognition in either race, but like Wilson-Foley, is good at raising money.
He also knows his way around a federal criminal investigation. He has been the subject of or connected to a public corruption investigation for much of his long tenure as Shelton mayor.
“Evidence in this case will show that Shelton, Connecticut, is crooked and corrupt and in order to get anywhere you had to pay off the mayor, Mark Lauretti,” federal prosecutor Richard Schechter said in 2010, calling him a “partner in crime in a conspiracy to defraud the citizens of Shelton.”
Lauretti was never charged, and the U.S. attorney’s office in Connecticut recently said the Shelton corruption investigation has been closed.
Lauretti says this proves he did nothing wrong. Yet, two people went to jail for fraud and lying about gifts to city officials after being charged specifically with bribing Lauretti — with “tens of thousands of dollars” in cash, home improvements and a luxury vacation in Aspen.
To finance his own campaign, Boughton is again willing to give someone reeking from the stench of corruption allegations the “benefit of the doubt.”
Boughton didn’t even talk with Lauretti about the federal investigation before teaming up with him in the gubernatorial race, saying, “He has been successfully elected several times since then and we feel confident it is not an issue.”
Voters should wonder whether Boughton, as governor, is going to apply this same level of tolerance to questions of corruption if it benefits him.