• Matt Blumenthal, A Chip Off The Old AG

    June 8, 2023
    Matt Blumenthal — House Dems

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    It would appear that someone, in some formerly smoke filled back room, is making political plans for U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal’s son, State Representative Matt Blumenthal.

    Is Blumenthal the younger, a chip off his dad’s block, being groomed for Connecticut’s Attorney General? And if so, what is the present Attorney General William Tong being groomed for?

    A CTMirror  report, Aside from cutting taxes, this budget could decide who runs for AGsuggests Matt Blumenthal may have his eye fixed on his Dad’s launch pad.

    Last March, the publication noted, the Government Administration and Elections Committee approved a bill that would have eliminated “active practice” language in a statute governing admission standards for the Attorney General’s office. To be admitted as a candidate for Attorney General, a prior standard required applicants to have had at least ten years active practice at the bar (emphasis mine), possibly an unconstitutional mandate.

    “On pages 339 and 340 of the 882-page budget bill passed early Tuesday in the House of Representatives,” CTMirror reported, “is a provision that could affect who can and cannot run for attorney general in 2026… The new standard says a candidate, aside from being a member of the Connecticut bar, simply must have “engaged in the practice of law [emphasis mine] in this state for at least ten years, either consecutively or nonconsecutively.”

    “Active practice” at the bar is no longer necessary under the revised dispensation and, more importantly, the ten year restriction has been reduced to six years.

    Qui Bono? Who benefits from such an arrangement?

    “One of the possible beneficiaries,” CTMirror notes, “was Rep. Matt Blumenthal, D-Stamford,” the  Government Administration and Elections Committee  co-chair. 

    “Matt Blumenthal was admitted to the Connecticut bar six years ago and will be one year short of the currently required decade in 2026, the next scheduled election for attorney general.”

    Political columnist Chris Powell noted years ago that Connecticut’s Constitution mandates only one restriction – an age limit – to office seekers in Connecticut. “Find Law” has helpfully provided a list of 41 U.S. Supreme Court Justices Without Prior Judicial Experience Before Becoming Justices. And Connecticut legislators, burdening the office with additional requirements, have yet to explain why what is good for the Supreme Court gander is bad for the Connecticut Attorney General goose hankering to become, in the course of time, a U.S. Senator.

    Two previous Connecticut Attorneys General -- Joe Lieberman and Dick Blumenthal – moved easily from the AG’s office to the U.S. Senate, although wedging Blumenthal from his 20 year sinecure as Attorney General was made to seem a bit like pulling teeth.

    There is in the United States a tradition that office holders, in the midst of ambitious and costly campaigns, must affect some degree of modesty underpinned by a barely concealed reluctance to holding office. What… me? I would be much happier tending to my wife and children and the lucrative business I must surrender to hold office, only to be badgered for years by intemperate challengers and an uncomprehending media.  

    The recent history of both offices, that of Attorney General and U.S. Senator, suggests a series of unanswered questions yet to be put to Matt Blumenthal, Dick Blumenthal  or Tong.

    Is Dick Blumenthal planning to vacate his office as U.S. Senator? What future political slot may he hold?  Is Blumenthal the Elder angling for a position on the U.S. Supreme Court if or when, as sometimes happens, one of the justices retires and President Joe Biden, retaining office in 2024, is able to select to the high court someone whose views on abortion match those of the sainted abortionists at Planned Parenthood?

    Can Blumenthal the Elder be persuaded to run for Governor, should present Governor Ned Lamont in the not too distant future shake the dust of Connecticut from his feet and retire to his family’s estate, Sky Farm, a small island in North Haven, Maine?

    Who will move where and why? If Matt Blumenthal is being groomed to be Attorney General, where on the political chessboard will Tong end up?

    Should Matt Blumenthal, the Government Administration and Elections Committee co-chair, have been permitted to shape a statutory measure that might benefit him politically? Stern ethicists would say “No.” But ethics plays second fiddle in politics to personal ambition, and we have gotten to the point in our politics where even illegal actions are occasionally permitted when they benefit the party in power.  

    In a one-party state such as Connecticut, such moves on the political chessboard are generally predetermined to the satisfaction of all the chess pieces.

    But, alas, a major difficulty presents itself.  Connecticut may tolerate a one-party neo-progressive state – until it becomes intolerable – but people in the state always have looked with a jaundiced eye on political dynasties, particularly when those who benefit by the dynasty are calling the political shots.

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    Author

    Don Pesci

    Don Pesci is a political columnist of long standing, about 40 years, who has written for various state newspapers, among them The Journal Inquirer, the Waterbury Republican American, the New London Day, the Litchfield County Times, the Torrington Register Citizen and other Register Citizen papers. He maintains a blog, among the oldest of its kind in Connecticut, which serves as a repository and archive, for his columns; there are approximately 3,000 entrees in Connecticut Commentary: Red Notes From A Blue State, virtually all of them political columns stretching back to 2004. He also appears once a week Wednesdays on 1080 WTIC Newstalk radio with Will Marotti.
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