Monday, March 12, 2007

Field Of Cash


Media Attache

It is hard to imagine how House Speaker Jim Amann is going to survive in his current role as fundraiser for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

As the Hartford Courant continues its coverage of the issue, it’s clear Amann’s fundraising is one of the dirty little secrets of the state Capitol that can not go on much longer.

This will be a test case for the new ethics commission. Its first big case. Regardless of the merits, anything less than a full rebuke will be seen as a cave.

Meantime, Republican House Leader Larry Cafero has gotten himself into a jam for publicly defending Amann.

Cafero has now put himself squarely in the cross hairs of the ethics police and he did so for a Democrat.

Good intentions don't matter in the Amann case. The fact is Amann has a built in advantage at the Capitol in his role as a fundraiser for MS. If you are a lobbyist and the Speaker asks you to give to his charity, you refuse at the peril of your clients.

The long time silence of the news media and other politcians on this issue speaks volumes about how the building works.

Ethics Tip of the Week: Ethics is a matter of perception more than rules. And the perception of others is more important than your own.

Dean Pagani is vice president of public affairs for Kashman & Katz of Glastonbury. Pagani is a former journalist who served as communications director and chief of staff in the Office of Governor.

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