Being Up Front

Well, this is a little brazen! Apparently a man actually tried to hand a legislator an envelope full of cash during a meeting over legislation.

To her credit, Rep. Deborah Heinrich refused and reported the man immediately. He was arrested by Capitol police and charged with bribery.

During a week like this, it’s nice to know that some people can’t be bought.

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31 responses to “Being Up Front

  1. The brazenness of the act indicates that this could be a widespread action. If a guy hand an envelope stuffed with money to a legislator AT A MEETING, there may be a lot more of this going on than anyone thinks.

    If I was covering the Capitol beat, I’d be working that angle non-stop right now. I’m waiting to see what Christine Stuart posts about this at CT News Junkie.

  2. The Courant story reports that Heinrich and the accused were on the same page with respect to these Condo issues, and there’s no reporting as to what he was asking her to do that she otherwise wasn’t inclined to do. The story also makes clear that she really isn’t in a position to do much anyway.
    This guy sounds stupid, and certainly what he allrgedly did was stupid, but it doesn’t smell like attempted bribery.

  3. What was the requested quid pro quo here? It’s reported that they were both on the same page on the issues of mutual concern. This may have been a stupid offer of gratitude, or who knows what, but it doesn’t have the smell of an attempted bribe.

  4. [quote]During Wednesday’s meeting, Perrelli told Heinrich that he had had a meeting earlier in the day with the chief state’s attorney’s office, which is participating in potential draft legislation on condominiums.[/quote]
    I’ll bet this scumbag didn’t produce an envelope full of cash at that one.

    Let there be no suggestion that Deb Heinrich is in any sense someone who might be in any way considered a possible candidate for payoffs. Her integrity is beyond question and her decisive, unambiguous actions in the absurd circumstance this loser put her in leave no room for doubt about that.

    Great job, Deb.

  5. Chris Mc, Your zeal for Rep Heinrich is admirable, but could you clarify what he was trying to bribe her to do. They reportedly agree on everything.
    Before you go calling someone a “scumbag” give some thought to what was reported, and that perhaps what we have here is a stupid, confused, mentally ill and/or all of the above old man acting irrationally.
    And, of course, given the events in Illinois, we should not assume that some politician and the Capitol police did not blow this thing way out of proportion.

  6. AndersonScooper

    I’m with you JM. The reading I’m getting is that Perrelli is a “Nut-job”, more than a “Scum-bag”….

  7. [quote post=”2412″]During Wednesday’s meeting, Perrelli told Heinrich that he had had a meeting earlier in the day with the chief state’s attorney’s office, which is participating in potential draft legislation on condominiums.

    I’ll bet this scumbag didn’t produce an envelope full of cash at that one[/quote]

    Naah, those guys require a whole bag!

  8. Did anyone else get the juxtaposition on the front page of the paper today — CT legislator refusing cash at the top of the Courant this morning, and Illinois’ governor defending himself below?

  9. So the suggestion JM is that this was no big deal? A politician blowing something out of proportion? This guy is just some daft old bugger?

    Your counsel then is that Rep Heinrich should have taken the daft old bugger’s advice and not said anything to the Capitol police?

  10. AndersonScooper

    If someone is a nut-case, do they deserve villification, or some degree of sympathy?

    Maybe Perrelli was in his right mind. But from the details as presented, it doesn’t seem so…

    I mean the guy tried to bribe his own State Rep to push forward a reform agenda? Pretty weird.

  11. First time in a long time more than one human interest story didn’t appear on the front page of the Hardly Courant. If this woman did take a bribe, 1) Her party affiliation would not have been stated, and 2) it would have been buried on page ZZZ in the CT Living Section.

  12. Chris Mc,
    No, my suggestion is that without a requested quid pro quo the is no attempted bribe. And I’ve yet to hear one.
    It is not a crime to offer a legislator a buck. Only if you’re motive is to request an official act in return. My only point is that I’ve seen nothing that suggests that motivation, and hence no bribery attempt.
    I’m suggesting that it could have been handled better. Rep Henrich could have reported it to appropriate officials, and a more tempered inquiry could have been conducted. She knew the guy. She knew where he lived. There was ABSOLUTELY NO need to make that arrest at that time and place.
    By the way the Capitol Police are supposed to have probable cause to arrest someone, and the uninvestigated word of a Legislator may not make that grade.
    The right lawyer could have a field day with this. Wonder where the CCLU is tonight?

  13. It’s now a prosecutable illegality to decline to report a bribe in Connecticut, thanks to DeLuca. Call it enforced morality; probably the only kind that works with some politicians. Illinois should could have used such a statute.

  14. Look Anderson, at some point in the spectrum of ethical persuasion everybody concludes that individuals are responsible for their actions. I am willing to stand corrected, but I am not willing to give this jerk the benefit of the doubt.

    Read Deb’s comments:
    [quote]”As soon as it happened, the meeting ended,” Heinrich said Wednesday night. “I was totally shocked. I was also very upset. I’m upset that anyone would think that it was OK to offer me money like that. I said, ‘We’re done. I am reporting this now.'”[/quote]
    Don’t they remind you of those of someone who has been violated? Read that way, what JM and you are suggesting leads in short order to some version of blaming the victim. Not to overstate it, but how far are we from “well, maybe she was asking for it”?

    Not far enough, in my view.

    Clearly, the victim is concerned about precisely that perception; and Bob, who is no callow youth (and I’d be hard pressed to believe he has any ax to grind with Rep Heinrich) provides us with an example of what is so insidious about what this individual perpetrated.

    My compassion is with Deb and the injustice done to her. If I err, it is on the side of caution in her regard. Let his attorney defend the offender in court.

    JM – you might be an attorney, or technically right without actually knowing what you are arguing, but if I stop 100 people on the street and provide them with this scenario, I’ll be surprised if more than one make the jesuitical argument you are.

    And if it is not a crime to offer a Legislator a buck, then why is he being charged? Are you saying a quid pro quo is required for bribery to occur? So it is impossible to peddle or attempt to purchase influence? Or to reward “good behavior” on the part of elected officials? Surely you agree that there is at least some line someplace, and that envelopes full of cash is across any such line?
    [quote]I’m suggesting that it could have been handled better. Rep Henrich could have reported it to appropriate officials, and a more tempered inquiry could have been conducted.[/quote]
    OK, what precisely would have been the better way? Who would the approprtiate officials be, exactly? And by a more tempered inquiry, what specifically is the fault and the preferable alternative to which you allude?

  15. AndersonScooper

    Oh, the guy should be prosecuted. But at first blush it sounds as if he needs mental help more than jail time.

    Still trying to figure out how Perrelli was going to profit if Heinrich did what he wanted.

  16. It doesn’t matter how he (imagined that he) might have benefitted, Anderson. There is just no circumstance in which whipping out an envelope full of cash in the LOB is OK, right? If there is such a circumstance, somebody please describe it for me, because my imagination is coming up short.

    If the court finds that he is a head case, then that is what the court finds. But most people battle dementia without ever plying their elected representatives with used bills, so I am not sure that argument holds a lot of water.

  17. Chris MC,
    For starters she could have reported it to the same officials that DeLuca was supposed to.
    By a tempered inquiry I mean a criminal investigation conducted by experienced professional law enforcement officers who would have, at a minimum, undestood the elements of the alleged criminal violation, and conducted interviews with the parties.
    Finally, and I will say this again, there was no reason to make that arrest at that time and place. Like it or not Bribery is a very technical crime. He’s being charged because the Capitol Police arrested him in the Parking Lot like he was going to bolt off to the Cayman Islands instead of his condo in Madison. At least they knew they can’t arrest someone without charging him with a crime.
    And it sounds like they didn’t even get a complete statement from Heinrich.
    The more I write about it the more nonsensical the whole scenario becomes. Of course, I did go to a Jesuit school so that may explain it.
    And by the way, what the hell does ” technically right without actually knowing what you are arguing” mean anyway?

  18. By “technically right, …” I mean you might be right without being an attorney trained in these distinctions. No offense intended. I (not an attorney), for example, have no idea whether or not you are technically correct.

    Not sure that if they had let the individual leave the premises, without establishing the fact that he was carrying the cash as alleged, this would have constituted a better approach; i.e. “Envelope full of cash? Nope, can’t say I know anything about any envelopes full of cash. But thanks for stopping by”… You don’t like how this went down, OK, but you seem fairly vague on the proper course of action in this circumstance. What if somebody shows up Legislator X’s office tomorrow bearing notes – who exactly are you saying Legislator X supposed to call?

    And I am curious why you are so sanguine about people waving envelopes of cash around in the LOB, and why you are ignoring the impact on the – I trust we agree – utterly innocent Representative Heinrich?

  19. Chris,
    There’s further reporting on this in today’s NH Register.You can draw your own conclusions.
    At this point we still do not know 1) what he wanted in return; and 2) how much money was in the envelope. (Heinrich says she didn’t look and doesn’t know. The CP aren’t saying)
    He’s out on $2500 bond (guess he’s no flight risk) and his court appearance is scheduled for 12/19. Hopefully we can learn more facts then.
    At this point I’m not saying Heinrich should be faulted for anything. Time will tell if if a charge of hysteria is warranted.

  20. In the meantime, in Chicago, home to the Obama gang, life goes on.

    Some people just say “no comment,” but President-elect Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is a little more inventive than that.

    Staff reporters for the Chicago Sun Times, a pesky lot, caught up with Emanuel recently to ask him whether he was the Obama “advisor” named in the criminal complaint against Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

    Blagojevich himself once used a higher-up contact at the paper – not named in prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s compliant – to try to off pesky reporters from the Sun Times. Here is Connecticut, the guessing game as to who this might be has already begun. Real Estate magnate Sam Zell owns both papers. Under Zell’s direction the Tribune Company is on the point of declariung bankruptcy; if the company had banking functions, it could apply to the Obama administration and the incoming Democrat controlled US legislature for a bailout loan.

    The Sun Times noted that “Emanuel was uncharacteristically absent from Obama’s news conference this morning. He was spotted two hours later in the lobby of Chicago’s City Hall. He was there to listen to his two children performing in a concert with their school, Anshe Emet.”

    But Emanuel was not forthcoming.

    “’You’re wasting your time,’ Emanuel said. ‘I’m not going to say a word to you. I’m going to do this with my children. Don’t do that. I’m a father. I have two kids. I’m not going to do it.’

    “Asked, ‘Can’t you do both?’ Emanuel replied, ‘I’m not as capable as you. I’m going to be a father. I’m allowed to be a father,’ and he pushed the reporter’s digital recorder away.”

    The reporters might possibly expect a dead fish to arrive in the mail shortly. Emanuel in the past has mailed out such messages to abrasive people, a suggestion that Obama’s major domo is not above resorting to tactics describd by Mari Puzo in The Godfather.

    This is, after all, Chicago.

  21. In the meantime, Fox News — fair, balanced and unafraid, is reporting that Emmanuel did have conversations with the black-souled Blagojevich.

  22. It’s all so confusing.

  23. AndersonScooper

    Ohmigod, Emanuel might have told Blagojevich that Obama preferred so-and-so as his Senate replacement. That’s just horrible!

    And of course Emanuel is also the most likely person to have brought in the FBI to investigate Blagojevich, for trying to sell the appointment…

  24. [quote comment=”39221″]Ohmigod, Emanuel might have told Blagojevich that Obama preferred so-and-so as his Senate replacement. That’s just horrible!

    And of course Emanuel is also the most likely person to have brought in the FBI to investigate Blagojevich, for trying to sell the appointment…[/quote]
    For once I agree with you. I don’t see anything wrong about BO’s people (or BO either for that matter) talking to the Governor about his successor. In fact I’d be more suprised if they hadn’t. However, where they’re screwing up is this cat and mouse game they’re playing. Just raises suspicions and keeps the story alive.
    I do believe, however, that this Senator Sale came to light in the course of an ongoing investigation. Emanuel didn’t bring in anyone/they were already there.

  25. AndersonScooper

    I’m guessing the biggest fear in Obama-land is that Blagojevich starts airing the Chicago machine’s dirty laundry.

    At this point they’ve got the megalomaniac heading out of the Governor’s office and into a jail cell, but I couldn’t help but notice that Daley looked like absolute shit the other day on tv.

    Let’s hope the drama doesn’t get any bigger. Obama isn’t perfect, but better than most, and the storyline for 2009 ought to be about solving this economic mess.

  26. Ok, so we’re all agreed that Emanuel has to man-up and admit that he was the Obama “advisor” mentioned in Fitzgeral’s compliant — if indeed he was the advisor. Then we’ll take it from there, right?

  27. [quote comment=”39228″]Ok, so we’re all agreed that Emanuel has to man-up and admit that he was the Obama “advisor” mentioned in Fitzgeral’s compliant — if indeed he was the advisor. Then we’ll take it from there, right?[/quote]
    Agreed, but I heard some Chicago reporters speculating that Emanuel may have been freelancing and seeking the seat for himself. That’s not illegal, but certainly embarassing. Particularly if it’s taped.

  28. [quote post=”2412″]Agreed, but I heard some Chicago reporters speculating that Emanuel may have been freelancing and seeking the seat for himself. That’s not illegal, but certainly embarassing. Particularly if it’s taped. [/quote]

    Looks like Fitz shut down a promising investigation too soon. Maybe he should have waited until these guys actually did something, then he could have prosecuted them for something more serious than conspiracy to help their friends and stick a pencil in the eye of their enemies.

    The mayor of Waterbury’s investigation was shut down early because the prosecutor was worried that Giordanno might further molest little girls. But eveyone involved in Chicago politics is a grown-up. Maybe Fitz should have waited until the cake was baked befiore he pulled it from the oven.

    Wonder why he didn’t do that?

  29. Could it have been, you know, politics?

  30. [quote comment=”39236″][quote post=”2412″]Agreed, but I heard some Chicago reporters speculating that Emanuel may have been freelancing and seeking the seat for himself. That’s not illegal, but certainly embarassing. Particularly if it’s taped. [/quote]

    Looks like Fitz shut down a promising investigation too soon. Maybe he should have waited until these guys actually did something, then he could have prosecuted them for something more serious than conspiracy to help their friends and stick a pencil in the eye of their enemies.

    The mayor of Waterbury’s investigation was shut down early because the prosecutor was worried that Giordanno might further molest little girls. But eveyone involved in Chicago politics is a grown-up. Maybe Fitz should have waited until the cake was baked befiore he pulled it from the oven.

    Wonder why he didn’t do that?[/quote]
    Because if the “sale” went through you would have had both a governor and a sitting senator indicted. He said he didn’t want that to happen so he moved to shut it down. For the good of the country, I believe that was the correct decision.
    And besides this Senate thing is not the only thing Blago going to be indicted for. Remember no indictments have come from the GJ yet. They been investigating him for years and I’m sure they’ll be a lot more.

  31. Looks like the singing canary in this farce was Tony Rezko, Obama’s deep pocket’s benefactor. Remember him? http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=4111483

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