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Lobbyist, The Kowalski Group, LLC
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A Message from the RSC Executive Director, Linda Kowalski:
Greenwich Time - Judge hears arguments on subpoena to former CRRA lobbyist
HARTFORD, Conn. -- An attorney for lobbyist Linda Kowalski, who came under fire after the state trash authority lost $220 million in a deal with Enron Corp., argued in Superior Court on Monday that a State Ethics Commission subpoena is invalid.
...Kowalski was a lobbyist for the quasi-public Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority at the time of the failed deal with Enron.
The state lost the $220 million after the energy giant filed for bankruptcy in December 2001.
The deal is now the subject of state and federal criminal investigations, as well as the Ethics Commission probe.Monday's hearing was the result of a complaint by state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal on behalf of the Ethics Commission, which has been trying to get a wide variety of documents from Kowalski for nearly two years since the subpoena was issued in July 2002.
...Blumenthal wants the judge to compel Kowalski to fully disclose records related to her work for the CRRA and other clients.
Blumenthal argued Monday that the Ethics Commission lawyer's authority is implicit, and that Kowalski
has not fully complied with the subpoena.
became embroiled in the controversy after it was revealed that she
had billed meals and other expenses for members of Gov.John G. Rowland's staff to the trash authority.
Blumenthal asked Booth for a speedy decision because the commission is holding a continued probable hearing for Kowalski
on May 20.
Halloran said if Booth rules in his favor then Kowalski
may not have to hand over any documents because of the statue of limitations.
The News-Times: Regional Report: authority's payments had little to do with trash
CRRA lobbyist Linda Kowalski was reimbursed for a $1,607 trip to Puerto Rico last May for a Republican Leadership Conference, including $69 in cab fare and a $355 dinner.Gov.John G. Rowland attended the conference, but Kowalski did not buy him dinner or anything else, Rowland spokesman Christopher Cooper said.
also was reimbursed for a $2,080 trip in February 2000 to Washington, D.C., for a meeting of the Republican Governors Association
.The expenses included a $1,120 hotel bill for a three-day stay, which included a daily room rate of $199.Rowland also attended the conference, but Kowalski
bought him nothing, Cooper said.
The CRRA also paid the $1,347 bill when Kowalski
attended the American Legislative Exchange Council conference in Chicago from Aug. 18 to Aug. 23, 1998.The charges included $90 for Kowalski's use of a fitness center at the Chicago Hilton and Towers.
...Kowalski's lawyer has said the authority approved extensive travel to political and government conferences so Kowalski could gather information on energy issues.
However, state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal issued subpoenas to Kowalski
and Wright last week to investigate the expenses the trash authority has reimbursed The Kowalski Group
The lobbying firm has a contract under which the trash authority pays it $4,000 a month, plus expenses.
It was disclosed last week that the CRRA
for at least four meals she
purchased for members of Rowland's staff _ and for travel around the country, mostly on the East Coast, but at least once to California.
Rowland's office insists that no meals or anything else were bought for the governor.His aides said they are working on an inventory of any meals for staff members purchased by Kowalski that were reimbursed by the authority, so the governor's office can reimburse the agency.
Cooper has said Rowland is unhappy that Kowalski
billed the CRRA
for expenses such as meals for his staff.
Last Friday, Rowland's chief of staff, Dean Pagani, relayed the governor's message that Kowalski
was no longer wanted as Connecticut's representative on the finance committee of the Republican Governors Association
A further jolt to Kowalski
was the authority's statement Friday that it was auditing the reimbursement records, some of which it questioned, and until the matter was resolved was freezing further payments to Kowalski
. Kowalski's lawyer, John Rose Jr., said last week that his client has nothing to hide and had voluntarily put more than $22,000 in escrow with the agency while the reimbursements are being reviewed.
The newspaper reported that Kowalski
, who was fined $50,000 a decade ago by the State Ethics Commission
for lobbying irregularities, had not returned phone calls seeking comment. She
has been e-mailing letters to her
clients to explain the situation.In her
latest, on Monday, she
wrote: "I want to assure you that all of the work performed for CRRA
was done at the direction of the client.Further, all payments made to The Kowalski Group
were also approved by the client."
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Linda Kowalski - The Kowalski Group