Gov. Dannel P. Malloy was introduced Tuesday at the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce’s annual holiday breakfast by a sponsor of the event and his political party: Rodney Powell, one of the Northeast Utilities executives who has made the gas-and-electric utility the biggest source of individual contributions to the Connecticut Democratic Party in 2013.

Powell wrote a check for $1,500 in October after NU’s chief executive, Thomas J. May, solicited contributions from 50 senior execs for the state party, saying it was the best way to support the re-election of Malloy, who has yet to formally announce his candidacy. The request brought in $46,500, bringing the NU total for the year to $55,000 through the end of October.

Malloy, who showed no discomfort speaking under an NU banner, said he will remain an enthusiastic fundraiser for the party, which has raised about 30 percent of its individual contributions from people who do business with the state as a contractor, recipient of state aid or an employee of a regulated industry.

He expressed no concern about the timing of some contributions, such as that of a real estate project manager who gave the party $10,000 a day before the State Bond Commission approved $31 million in financing for his project in Bridgeport.

“The standard to apply is whether we’re compliant with the law, and we’ll hold ourselves to that standard,” Malloy said.

Isn’t the law the minimum standard?

“No, it’s the legal standard,” he replied.

Malloy spoke to reporters after delivering a keynote speech that sounded like a dress rehearsal for a re-election stump speech in 2014, but, officially at least, the first-term Democrat is not yet a candidate.

The governor said he backed Attorney General George Jepsen’s decision to open settlement talks with state employee unions over layoffs by former Gov. John G. Rowland that have been deemed illegaly by a federal appeals court.

“We’re not giving up a right to appeal a final outcome. It seems to me an appropiate moment to see if this matter can be resolved on terms that are favorable to both sides, as opposed to taking one big chance that you win it all or lose it all,” he said. “Losing it all on our side could be very big.”

He said he welcomed a federal investigation into allegations that the University of Connecticut’s mishandled sexual assault cases, but he left no doubt that the episode has not diminished his faith in the university’s president, Susan Herbst.

“I absolutely 100 percent support her in what she’s trying to do at the University of Connecticut,” he said.

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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