HARTFORD, Conn. (AP/WTNH) — Seven additional people have been charged in the federal investigation into financial contributions made to Connecticut House Speaker Chris Donovan's congressional campaign.
On July 25, a federal grand jury sitting in New Haven returned a superseding indictment charging the following people:
- Robert Braddock, Jr., 33, the former Finance Director for a campaign of a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives;
- Benjamin Hogan, a.k.a. "Benny," 33, an employee of Smoke House Tobacco, a Roll Your Own smoke shop with two locations in Waterbury;
- David Moffa, a.k.a. "Moff" and "Buffalo," 52, the former President of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 387, representing employees of the Connecticut Department of Correction;
- Daniel Monteiro, 33, an owner of a company located in Waterbury;
- Joshua Nassi, 34, the former Campaign Manager for the campaign of the candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives;
- Paul Rogers, a.k.a. "Paulie," 39, a co-owner of Smoke House Tobacco,
- George Tirado, 35, a co-owner of Smoke House Tobacco (and a Waterbury police detective)
Tirado is also a 14-year veteran of the Waterbury Police Department. Due to this investigation, he has been on administrative leave pending the outcome of the federal investigation and an internal affairs investigation.
Waterbury police say he has never been the subject of disciplinary action.
On Tuesday, Harry Raymond Soucy, a.k.a. "Ray," 60, a former employee of the State of Connecticut Department of Correction who also served as the Treasurer of AFSCME, Local 387, pleaded guilty to one count of devising a scheme to bribe a public official, and one count of conspiring to make false statements to the Federal Election Commission and to impede the FEC's enforcement of federal campaign finance laws.
Hogan, Rogers, Tirado, Nassi and Moffa appeared before the judge on Thursday.
All five will be released on a $100,000 bond and scheduled to appear back in court on October 10, 2012.
The judge also gave permission for Tirado and Rogers to go out of the state on previously arraigned trips.
Braddock was charged in May in an alleged scheme to hide the source of $27,500 in campaign contributions tied to an effort to defeat legislation before the General Assembly that raised taxes on "roll-your-own" smoke shop owners. Braddock has pleaded not guilty.
Donovan denies any involvement in the alleged scheme and hasn't been charged. He continues to run for the Democratic nomination for the 5th Congressional District seat now held by Rep. Chris Murphy, who is running for the U.S. Senate.
Braddock's indictment alleged the scheme began as early as November 2011 and involved several owners of Connecticut roll-your-own tobacco shops who wanted to stop legislation before the General Assembly that could subject them to new taxes and licensing fees.
Braddock was accused of conspiring with others to use conduit contributors to violate federal campaign contribution limits and hide where the funds originated.
According to the indictment, one of the shop owners told another to take a check for $2,500, the maximum contribution amount, to a meeting with Donovan but to "give someone else the money and they can write the check." Later, during a December meeting, that shop owner explained it was necessary to use conduit contributions to prevent people from drawing a connection between their congressional campaign donations and defeat of the roll-your-own legislation that could be introduced, the indictment says.
The indictment also shows that an unnamed, unindicted co-conspirator told one of the shop owners that the plan was to first contribute $10,000 to Donovan's congressional committee, followed by additional payments up to $30,000 if they were "happy." Federal authorities accuse Braddock and co-conspirators of being responsible for $27,500 in conduit contributions, or 11 checks of $2,500, from November 2011 through May 2012.
Ultimately, the bill that would have imposed the taxes and fees on roll-your-own shops did not pass during this year's regular session of the General Assembly because it was not called up for a vote in the Senate. However, lawmakers later passed the legislation during a special session.
Donovan is vying for the Democratic nomination in the 5th District against political newcomer Daniel Roberti and former state Rep. Elizabeth Esty. The race for the Republican nomination includes state Sen. Andrew Roraback, businessman Mark Greenberg, businesswoman Lisa Wilson-Foley and U.S. Navy veteran Justin Bernier.
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