License PlateGate: Healy calls for investigation plus … a recap

Republican State Chair calls for an investigation into the release of confidential motor vehicle registration information by the staff of Governor Dan Malloy. The GOP chief has asked the Chief State’s Attorney to determine who knew what, what did they know, and when did they know it. Not familiar with license plategate? No worries. A recap follows.

For those who missed this story, last week Kevin Rennie ran a story revealing that outgoing Republican Governor M. Jodi Rell, passed on exclusive numbered license plates to friends and family, before she left office.

The story, clearly meant to embarrass Rell and catch the state’s “every woman” in hypocrisy. has turned into so much more, because it is against federal and state statutes to release the info which is meant to be confidential.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qr9FRqrlKK8

So … a story that began as a Rell embarrassment has turned into a possible illegality on the part of the Malloy administration. As reported in the CT Mirror … it was Malloy’s chief of staff and an aide that responded to, and presumably gleefully agreed to do Rennie’s legwork.

Andrew J. McDonald, the legal counsel to Malloy, said the purpose was to respond to a media request. The administration’s top communication official, Roy Occhiogrosso, provided the list without realizing it was illegal to disclose the owners of the low-digit plates, he said.

“When the request came in, the response was based on an effort to be as open and transparent as possible,” McDonald said.

Occhiogrosso said that former state Sen. Kevin Rennie, a blogger and Hartford Courant columnist, requested the information after hearing that Rell had issued the sought-after plates.

“It never dawned on me I was being asked a question I wasn’t supposed to answer,” Occhiogrosso said.

The illegality of the release of the information was first reported by the Associated Press. The information is considered personal, though not “highly restricted,” the designation given to a motorist’s photograph, Social Security number or medical or disability information.

Ahh yes. The Geithner defense. I made a mistake. Governor Malloy’s response was almost as classic. A kinda … sorry we screwed up but you can have another plate if you fear for your privacy.

“If a mistake was made, we will gladly refund the money to any individual requesting it and promptly issue a new license plate,” Malloy said in an emailed statement.

Not good enough said Healy today, the state GOP head. We want a investigation to see if the law was violated.

State Republican Chairman Chris Healy said the chief state’s attorney should investigate whether Malloy’s administration violated the state’s privacy law, which prevents “any officer, employee, agent or contractor” of the Department of Motor Vehicles from releasing the information, with some exceptions. Violators can face a misdemeanor. Meanwhile, those who are qualified to receive the information must fill out a records request form. Violators of the federal law can face civil liability.

Here’s the point of this story. There are people in the Malloy administration who think nothing of violating privacy laws if it means embarrassing a political opponent. But it begs the question. If they are so cavalier with the law on a matter of not great import … what will this administration do to any of us when the real heat gets turned up? Something to think about my little Tea Party folk.

14 replies
  1. TomL
    TomL says:

    How come the citizens of CT know that you can't do that but the ones making the laws don't want to follow them. Seems that resignations are in order. Rell is out of office so she's a non factor or are the dimwitocrats worried she might run for Liebermans seat.

  2. Wayne SW
    Wayne SW says:

    Low number license plates are soooooo popular with politicians…..one has to wonder if the politicians use them like get out of jail free cards!

    Did we elect an Attorney General???? Has anyone seen him?  The legalities of this aren't something that he may want to investigate……nah……law enforcement in things like this are on a selective basis……selected by the ranking party in power.

     

  3. Lynn
    Lynn says:

    What is it with Kevin Rennie? It sure doesn't surprise me he writes for The Courant, which can not sink to soon for me.

  4. Lynn
    Lynn says:

    Oh and singledad, Malloy is taking his magic show on the road, to show us how you can't cut the budget, before he raises the taxes.

  5. rjan
    rjan says:

    Why do we have this stupid law? I think it is so that politicians can give their cronies these stupid plates and then hide behind this law to keep it a secret. Thank God Dan Malloy thinks this law should not exist, and these favors should never happen. Healy should get his low # plate and go drive some of his cronies to a bar. 

  6. winnie888
    winnie888 says:

    Yes, a democrat breaks a law in an attempt to embarrass the outgoing Republican governor, it backfires and Republicans are to blame because there are "more important" things to discuss.  Sorry, but anytime an elected official encourages staff to break existing laws in order to acquire political clout, I think it's pretty important to know about it.  Breaking the law does not make the law stupid.  It makes the one who broke it — especially an elected official who should be aware of said law — stupid.  There should be consequences.  Ignorance of a law is no excuse for breaking it.  Not liking a law doesn't give the gov. the right to break it.

     

  7. rjan
    rjan says:

    I wonder how many of us are breaking some law right now. There is no way everyone knows all the laws that are on the books. Rowland can testify to that fact. Governor Malloy accepted responsibilty for this mistake. That is a sign of great character. Former governor Rell was not a true republican thank God.

  8. PatRiot
    PatRiot says:

    Kevin Rennie's actions remind us to stop and take a deep breath and think twice before judt barging forward.

    If this is the only dirt that can be dug up – reckless spending aside – then this is truely a red herring distraction. 

  9. lpalshaw
    lpalshaw says:

    My concern is how the information was obtained. Does the Governor's office have a DMV computer? If so the person authorized to use it had to know the restrictions on its use. Did someone at the Governor's office call someone at DMV to obtain the information if so the person at DMV knew the rules for release. The reason this is important, if a state computer was used there was a violation of state laws about the misuse of a computer that are felony violations. Police officers have been fired and arrested for misusing the information obtained from the DMV computer. Someone in the Gevernor's office or DMV should be fired

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