Union removes officer implicated in illegal contributions
A correction officer was removed from a union leadership position Saturday after being identified as involved in the delivery of FBI sting money for illegal donations to the congressional campaign of House Speaker Christopher G. Donovan, D-Meriden.
In stories posted Friday night, The Courant and The Mirror identified Ray Soucy, the treasurer of AFSCME Local 387, as “CC-1,” an unnamed co-conspirator alleged in an FBI affidavit to have arranged illegal campaign contributions.
Lisamarie Fontano, the president of Local 387, said Saturday she removed Soucy as treasurer after a brief conversation with him.
“He has acknowledged to me he is under investigation,” Fontano said.
Soucy has not spoken publicly, not responding to requests by The Mirror and The Courant for comment.
“I’m still not speaking,” Soucy told The Mirror on Saturday.
Fontano said Soucy has not been arrested or charged in the investigation, but she felt compelled to remove him “in the best interest of the local and the members.”
Soucy also resigned his posts as the president of the Western Connecticut Central Labor Council and the executive council of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, said John Olsen, the state AFL-CIO president.
Soucy is a familiar figure at the State Capitol on labor issues. But political sources say he made inquiries during the session that ended May 9 about a non-union issue: a tax on roll-your-own cigarettes.
FBI agents Wednesday arrested Robert Braddock Jr., Donovan’s finance director, and charged him with conspiring to conceal the identity of a campaign donor.
In an arrest affidavit, the FBI described CC-1 as conspiring with Braddock to conceal that $20,000 in campaign donations was coming from a business investor trying to kill the tobacco tax legislation. The investor was actually an FBI undercover agent.
The donations were made in two bundles of $10,000, one in April and another in May, after the annual legislative session ended with the tax bill dying from inaction on the Senate calendar.
How Soucy came to be involved as a go-between arranging campaign contributions from an undercover FBI agent to the Donovan campaign is unknown, as is the reason the FBI targeted the Donovan campaign for a sting.
Another mystery is why an FBI sting was directed at trying to influence the Donovan campaign in a bid to kill a Senate bill that never made it to the House, where Donovan presides. Through a spokesman, Donovan has said he played no role in influencing the bill, nor did he talk to anyone about opposing it.
The story grew more complicated Friday night as The Mirror reported that Soucy also may have played a role in directing five $1,000 contributions to three state House Republican political action committees.
House Minority Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr., R-Norwalk, said Friday he returned the checks after the FBI informed him Thursday it believed that some of its sting money may have found its way to the GOP committees.
While the Braddock arrest affidavit outlines a rationale for the illegal contributions to the Donovan campaign, Cafero said the FBI shared no information about whether there also was an attempt to use the GOP to affect the tobacco legislation.
Cafero said the FBI did not identify any suspect donors, but he targeted five checks from two donors to be returned based on the timing of their receipt.
The legislature’s Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee voted 33-12 on April 3 to approve the tax bill, which was sought by the administration of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to close what it considered a loophole in tax law.
Soucy inquired at about the same time how contributions could be made to the House GOP, making no mention of the tax issue, according to a political source.
According to the FBI affidavit, CC-1, now identified by The Courant and The Mirror as Soucy, became a cooperating witness after agents confronted him April 26. According to The Courant, Soucy went on voluntary leave from the Department of Correction three days later.
Cafero said the FBI has told him that neither he nor his staff is a target of the continuing investigation. Donovan, who is not mentioned in the arrest affidavit as being aware of the illegal donations or an effort to kill the tax legislation, has fired three top campaign officials and is trying to salvage his campaign.
Fontano said she believes that Soucy’s union position played no role in the case: “My position is this local has nothing to do with it.”
The U.S. attorney’s office has declined to provide any information beyond a brief press release announcing the arrest of Braddock and the arrest affidavit.