June 16, 2021

Connecticut Politics Week in Review: Lamont announces Phase 3 of business reopenings. ‘We’ve earned the right.’

State Sen. Eric Berthel, R-Watertown, has apologized for placing a sticker associated with the QAnon conspiracy theory on his car following weeks of criticism after a photographer of the sticker was published on social media. After initially defending the sticker and what he believed were the “values” the group stood for, Berthel apologized this week for his “failure to look into the movement more deeply.” The debunked conspiracy that’s gained traction in far-right circles is that a worldwide group of Satan-worshipping pedophiles, including in Hollywood and the media, are conspiring against Trump, who is seeking their arrest. … Linda McMahon, the ex-WWE executive who ran twice for U.S. Senate in Connecticut and served as the head of the federal Small Business Administration under Trump, contributed $500,000 in August to America First Action, a super PAC supporting Trump’s reelection efforts. McMahon, who left the SBA in April 2019 to chair the group, has been a reliable donor to GOP candidates and causes. … Deputy House Republican leader Vin Candelora this past week condemned Trump’s refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the Nov. 3 election. “Generally speaking, a position like that could put us into a crisis,” the state representative from North Branford said. Candelora, who is expected to succeed Rep. Themis Klarides of Derby as House Republican leader next year, said he was confident Connecticut election officials would do their all to ensure the integrity of the vote here. … Michael Cronin, a former lawyer for Senate Republicans at the state Capitol who was arrested in 2019 and accused of embezzling nearly $268,000 in GOP campaign funds, was arrested Thursday on a slew of new forgery and identity theft charges related to his divorces from his two previous wives. Investigators concluded, and Cronin admitted, that he had forged his wife’s signature on numerous financial documents. Cronin has pled not guilty to a larceny charge related to the stolen campaign funds and that case is continuing. … Mary Anne Schmitt-Carey, the ex-president/CEO of the state’s now-disbanded education partnership with hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio has filed a $2.5 million lawsuit against Dalio’s philanthropic organization, as well as a nonprofit group called Say Yes to Education that she headed for 12 years, and two individuals who she claims spread “malicious lies” about alleged misconduct by her at Say Yes. Public revelations in The Courant about efforts to oust Carey after board members learned of the allegations helped lead to the dissolution of the partnership, in which the state was to invest $100 million in taxpayer funds.

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