Fasano Asks Attorney General for Opinion on Governor’s Watchdog Agency Cuts

August 16, 2016

Hartford – Today Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven) asked the Attorney General’s Office for a formal opinion on whether Governor Dannel P. Malloy has the legal authority to unilaterally cut from the budgets of the state’s three watchdog agencies: the State Elections Enforcement Commission, the Office of State Ethics, and the Freedom of Information Commission.

Gov. Malloy’s budget office recently stated that the governor has the legal authority to cut the budgets of these watchdogs, and proceeded to move forward with over $180,000 in new cuts to these good government regulators. Gov. Malloy’s office asserted that the governor was permitted to make these cuts even though a law passed in 2004 prohibits governors from cutting the budgets of the three watchdog agencies.

“I believe that Gov. Malloy was wrong to cut from the state’s watchdog agencies. And even if the governor could make an argument that his cuts were legal, I believe they still should not have been made. These cuts further weaken the public trust in government. Laws protecting these three watchdog agencies were put in place after a governor, while under federal investigation, tried to cut the budgets of the agencies responsible for ensuring that state officials follow the law. Now today, Gov. Malloy, while under federal investigation, is the one trying to cut from these watchdogs. This shows a complete disregard for restoring any shred of public confidence in our state,” said Fasano.

“If the Attorney General confirms that Gov. Malloy was wrong to make these cuts, then this funding should be immediately restored to ensure our watchdogs can operate properly. If the AG opines that the governor does in fact have this authority, then clearly the legislature needs to take action to close any loophole to prevent this from happening again,” said Fasano.

Sen. Fasano’s letter to Attorney General Jepsen is attached.