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This is mainly a domestic politics newsletter, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t at least acknowledge the massive rupture currently happening in Europe. I’m referring of course to Harry Styles’ departure from One Direction.
Sorry. That’s the sort of weak joke we make when trying to relieve the tension of an incipient panic attack. And that’s probably the best way to understand Brexit’s fallout: as a sort of geopolitical, financial panic attack. The British pound is collapsing, right-wing populist movements are calling for EU secession left and right, and no one knows for sure what comes next.
But on to our regularly scheduled programming. Our own David Sirota has noted a key tidbit related to his ongoing coverage of the proposed Cigna-Anthem health insurance megamerger.
Cigna is based in Connecticut. As Sirota has previously reported, the main state official in charge of overseeing the merger is Insurance Commissioner Katharine Wade, appointed by Gov. Dan Malloy last year. Wade is a former Cigna lobbyist and has other longstanding family ties to the company. Following IBT’s scrutiny of those ties, Connecticut’s Citizen’s Ethics Board launched an investigation into whether Wade’s ties to the company constitute an impermissible conflict of interest.
Now there’s another wrinkle to the story. When Malloy first selected Katharine Wade to be health commissioner, the Hartford Courant noted her father-in-law, Jim Wade, was “a self-described ‘pal’ and sometime lunch companion” of the governor. But their ties actually go a little deeper than that. In 2005, when Malloy was the mayor of Stamford, Jim Wade played an instrumental role in helping the future governor survive a 17-month criminal investigation.
This is all a matter of public record. But what’s curious is that it hasn’t come up in the context of Malloy’s decision to appoint Jim Wade’s daughter-in-law to a key regulatory position — not to mention his subsequent decision to resist calls for her recusal.
Incidentally, as IBT has previously reported, Jim Wade works at a law firm that sometimes does lobbying and legal work for Cigna.
THIS WEEK'S TOP POLITICAL CAPITAL STORIES
Oh, P.S.: A top Malloy administration official told Cigna, “We stand ready to assist you in any way if you move forward with the rumored transaction.”
The Unbearable Whiteness of Fundraising: A study of Washington’s most recent local election found large donors tended to be vastly more conservative, white and male than the voting population as a whole.
Little Marco, Big Money: Now that Marco Rubio has decided to prolong his political career for the good of the country, IBT’s Clark Mindock has taken a look at the industries that have bankrolled his prior bids for office.
A Riddle, Wrapped In an Enigma, Topped With an Orange Toupée: Here are eight lingering questions we had after reviewing the Donald Trump campaign’s absolutely baffling June financial disclosure form.
Shhhhh!: New York could be tightening up its public records laws amid a federal corruption investigation.
FROM AROUND THE WEB
Banking Against Brexit: U.S. banks spent nearly $3 million trying to persuade the British people to stay in the EU, reports the Sunlight Foundation’s Libby Watson.
The Potemkin Campaign: Slate’s Jamelle Bouie says the problem isn’t that Donald Trump’s campaign is underfunded; it’s that there’s no real campaign to speak of.
There’s No Business Like Show Business: But then again, maybe that’s because Trump already has an exit strategy. According to Vanity Fair, rumors are circulating Trump intends to launch his own cable news network when this is all over. (The campaign says those rumors are false.)
From Our Colleagues at the Onion: Cash-Strapped Trump Forced to Replace Eric Trump with Cheap Migrant Son
Hmmmmmm: But maybe Trump’s money woes are over! The campaign has announced it raised more than $3 million over the course of a couple days. If true, that would be unprecedented. (via The Washington Post)
iSpeaker: Apple CEO Tim Cook may be trying to distance the company from Trump, but he still wants a solid working relationship with both parties. To that end, Politico reports, he’ll be hosting a fundraiser with Paul Ryan next week.