HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) -- Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill apologized Tuesday and is seeking an investigation of her own office over an an email newsletter that some said looked like campaigning for higher office.
Merrill says the emailed newsletter was simply a way to communicate with constituents. She says now she realizes that the fact that the majority of the names on the e-mail list are politically active Democrats, many that have contributed to her past campaigns, made it look like it was campaigning for higher office on state taxpayers' dime.
"I can see now how the impression that caused might have been negative and for that I am deeply sorry," Merrill said. "Although I didn't personally build the list, the buck stops here and I will take any blame that's assigned."
She has formally requested that state auditors examine how the e-mailed newsletter was made, but the chairman of the State Republican Party had beat her to it. In his letter to state auditors party Chairman Jerry Labriola says "It appears that this list is a taxpayer financed tool to help the political standing of Secretary Merrill, who will be up for election next year."
But Rep Larry Cafero, the Republican Leader in the House, defended Merrill. "I've known Denise Merrill for twenty years and I believe her," Cafero said. "She's an honest woman and hard working woman."
Attorney General George Jepsen, who is a former Democratic State Party Chairman, declined to comment. "Until I have all the facts in front of me, and in fact the issue is not formally in front of me, until that happens, it would just be inappropriate for me to comment," he said.
Gov. Dannel Malloy also declined to criticize Merrill.
"The idea that somebody wants to communicate about their office with people that want to be communicated with shouldn't surprise anyone," Malloy said.
Asked whether he has an email list or newsletter of people that are all Democrats, the governor said "no, no we don't."
If this seems like deja vu it's because Merrill's predecessor, Susan Bysiewicz, was accused of doing the same thing.
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