The most widely read story on our website this week was about the privately funded trips taken by some members of our Washington delegation.
The interest is not at all surprising. News organizations across the country used to write these kind of high-interest, insider-y stories about their D.C. delegations all the time. Stories on congressional travel were part of the repertoire.
Today, as the state’s only news organization with a full-time reporter in Washington, the CT Mirror and reporter Ana Radelat try to focus on stories that not only show what our elected representatives are doing, but that also pull back the curtain a little on how Capitol Hill actually works.
The second story from Radelat we published this week — “CT lawmakers use PACs to help other Dems” – is more of the behind-the-curtain variety.
The story is about the completely legal leadership PACs that most members of our delegation have created.
Even though our senators, both freshman Democrats, aren’t seeking re-election for several years – Sen. Blumenthal’s term ends in 2016, Sen. Murphy’s in 2018 – money donated to their PACs can go to help Democrats elsewhere in the country who have tough races. The process also enhances their own influence among their colleagues on the Hill. Every Connecticut House member — with the exception of 5th District Rep. Elizabeth Esty — has created a leadership PAC for the same reasons.
“It is not a surprise that freshmen will form leadership PACs; it is a surprise that not everyone does,” Norm Ornstein, of the American Enterprise Institute, told Radelat.
Other high-interest stories this week were two written by Jacqueline Rabe Thomas, our schools/children’s issues reporter, on the apparent increasingly reliance on the part of DCF to use locked facilities for some of Connecticut’s most troubled adolescents. The stories were prompted, in part, by the agency’s plans to open a 12-bed girls’ facility next month.
Other not-to-miss stories this week on the Mirror’s website:
Have a great weekend, and see you Monday.