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Monday, August 20 News

Letters to the editor

Mattei best candidate for attorney general

To the editor:

Aug. 14 is the date registered Democrats can vote in the primary to select who they want to stand for election as the Democratic candidate for attorney general. There are two critical factors to consider: (1) who is best positioned to win the general election and (2) who has better experience and skills for the job. Both factors point to Chris Mattei.

Chris, like former Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, has the U.S. Attorney’s Office background. That background is absolutely the best litigation background for a job involving litigation — which is a large part of what the AG’s office does. Moreover, within the USAO, the most prestigious job to which one can get promoted from within is the one Chris held — being the head of the Public Corruption and Financial Fraud unit. That says a lot about Chris’s performance at the USAO and the respect he garnered from his superiors. As someone who has served at the USAO myself, I can attest that only the very best in the USAO office get the job to head the Public Corruption and Financial Fraud unit.

Many people do not understand what an AG actually does and cannot do. AGs don’t legislate. The AG enforces laws, and brings fraud and consumer protection actions. Chris has experience with all of that. Fraud enforcement actions brought by the Connecticut AG’s Office have resulted in many tens of millions of dollars contributed to our state budget. At a time our state is suffering from serious financial woes, such enforcement actions make important contributions to our state finances. Chris Mattei has handled some of the state’s biggest fraud cases; Tong has no such experience.

The AG runs a big office and supervises a lot of attorneys. Chris has run the Public Corruption Department at the USAO and supervised twelve attorneys in that job. Tong has never even run a legal department.

One of the biggest challenges for our AG in coming years will be fighting the public corruption of the Trump administration. Chris has fought such corrupt individuals in power before (he prosecuted Gov. Rowland).

Our state has relatively strong gun laws, but our problem is one that all states share — the problem of porous borders and gun trafficking. We need to have someone in the AG’s office who enforces our gun control laws. Chris cracked down on and prosecuted gun traffickers who were bringing illegal, out-of-state guns into Connecticut’s cities. When one considers the variety of areas where the AG operates, Chris has experience covering those areas. William Tong has had limited experience as a Finn Dixon attorney in the private equity and hedge fund world that is really not particularly pertinent to what an AG does.

One of the key accomplishments of Blumenthal’s tenure involved a multi-state effort on tobacco cases. Multi-state cooperation between AG offices in multiple states is one of the most useful ways for the AG to combat the Trump administration’s deleterious efforts, e.g., on the environment, and immigration. For instance, a multi-state effort has been begun by the California AG, suing the Trump administration over car emissions. Chris has experience on multi-state, multi-office prosecutions. Chris has enforced environmental laws in the cases he has handled.

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Finally, it is critical that we choose an AG candidate who will beat the GOP candidate. He has a pristine record fighting public corruption. If we choose him, we deprive the GOP of a useful narrative to attack our choice for AG. Mattei is the AG candidate the GOP fears most. For good reason: there is no one running in either party who has a more pristine record or better experience fighting fraud, environmental violations, gun trafficking and corruption. Chris is the best person to lead the Connecticut Attorney General’s Office.

Kristan Hamlin

Westport

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