Middletown mayor solicited campaign donations from some city emp - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Middletown mayor solicited campaign donations from some city employees

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Mayor Dan Drew  (WFSB file photo) Mayor Dan Drew (WFSB file photo)

Middletown Mayor Dan Drew admits he made a mistake in his run for the governor's office.

The Drew campaign recently sent out a letter to some municipal employees, including police officers, asking for donations.

Democratic Mayor Drew said he admits sending out the letter to some city police officers soliciting donations was flat out wrong.

On Thursday, he told Eyewitness News he had requested a list from human resources, and said he doesn't remember how, but it was only used to make mailing labels and then destroyed.

"I asked for the list, I believed it was public information like I said. This was a mistake on my part," he said, adding that he realized there were officers addresses listed when the union contacted his office.

In the letter Drew writes, "I want to do for Connecticut what we've accomplished for Middletown. That's why I decided to run for governor, and why I would be so honored if you would make a $100 contribution to my campaign."

He needs 250 $100 donations to qualify for public financing to run.

Channel 3 called the state Elections Enforcement Commission to ask about the legality of the letter.

They wouldn't comment directly, however they did refer to a state law which states its illegal for any municipal employee to solicit a political contribution which they benefit from a subordinate employee.

The Drew campaign is adamant that the letter does not violate that or any other law, however Mayor Drew said that his campaign did make an error by sending the letter to an unknown number of Middletown police officers. 

The officers’ addresses are not supposed to be released by the town attorney. 

Channel 3 obtained a letter written by the deputy city attorney apologizing for releasing personal addresses for a political matter and Drew says he met with the police union president to personally say he was sorry and the error would not happen again.

On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the state Elections Enforcement Commission said there had been no formal complaints about the letter.

However, on Thursday the state's Republican party said it plans to file a complaint, saying this violates ethics.

"Frankly what he did was a massive abuse of power. Police officers are protected from the freedom of information and an average person can't walk into city hall and demand a list for their own protection," said Republican Party Chairman JR Romano. "Regardless of how he wants to spin it, it was wrong ethically, it was wrong on a government standpoint."

On Thursday, Drew sent a follow up letter to the union president to give to city employees, saying in part "Serving as your mayor is a wonderful experience every day, and I am proud of the work you do for the City of Middletown. I would not ever want for you or anyone else to believe the letter was meant to coerce anyone. I respect the work you do far too greatly for that to be permitted."

The state Elections Enforcement Commission couldn't comment further saying once a complaint is made, they'll look into it whether Drew is considered a municipal employee.

Drew says he plans to refund the money to city workers who gave a donation.

The Middletown council clerk is expected to look at the letter to see if anything was violated.?

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