by Jennifer Swift
Jan 20, 2014
05:17 PM
Connecticut Politics

Connecticut GOP Suspect DEEP Commissioner Resignation 'Political'

Connecticut GOP Suspect DEEP Commissioner Resignation 'Political'

Mara Lavitt/New Haven Register

Days after Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Dan Esty announced he was resigning from his post, the state’s Republican Party claims something smells political about the decision.

Esty, who is the husband of U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5, was appointed to the post in March 2011 by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. He’s returning to his previous position at Yale as the Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy and director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Center for Business & Environment at Yale. 

“The timing of Commissioner Esty’s departure from the DEEP on February 3rd raises some questions. With both the Governor and Elizabeth Esty facing difficult elections in November, one must wonder if the decision was political,” said a statement by GOP spokesman Zak Sanders sent two days after Esty’s announcement.

The statement suggests that because of allegations made against Dan Esty it would be easier for Malloy to face re-election for governor (an intention he has not yet announced) without the weight of Esty.

“This is the Commissioner who was chastised for tipping off investment bankers who had an interest in Northeast Utilities about his new energy plan before state lawmakers were told. His spouse was forced to return tainted campaign donations by NU, a company that Commissioner Esty regulated and by whom he was formerly employed. And Governor Malloy has his own ‘pay to play’ problems without having to worry about what other tainted contributions may come to light from the Esty household,” the statement says.

It also mentions a claim that Esty helped Malloy to get a job with Class Green Capitol Partners which has “not been adequately answered.”

Dan Esty’s office did not return a request for comment, and neither did Elizabeth Esty’s office.

"It’s pretty apparent that Tom Foley is now the de facto leader of the state GOP,” said Democratic Party spokesman James Hallinan. “He’s now using them to do what he’s been doing for months: lob baseless, ridiculous charges and allegations out there in the hopes that something will stick. How sad.”

Foley, who is exploring a run for governor, has alleged that Esty had compensated Malloy during the 2010 governor's race, and that the money was not labeled a campaign contribution.
Foley could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.

Malloy spokesman Andrew Doba regarded the release as “ridiculous” and released a list of statements from Republican and Democratic legislators on Esty’s tenure.

According to the statements, Esty had fans of his work on both sides of the aisle. One statement sent by Doba came from Rep. Laura Hoydick, the ranking Republican member of the state’s energy and technology committee, who regarded Esty as always accessible despite her being from the minority party.

Connecticut GOP Suspect DEEP Commissioner Resignation 'Political'

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