Senate lawyer fired after admitting he removed money from campaign PAC

December 3, 2018

The legal counsel for the state Senate Republicans was fired after he told leadership he removed, without authorization, tens of thousands of dollars from a PAC intended to support candidates, the Senate GOP leader said Monday.

Michael Cronin was terminated Monday and has turned himself in to the Chief State’s Attorney, according to Len Fasano, the Senate minority Leader, R-North Haven. Cronin was legal counsel for the caucus for nearly 20 years, his Linked In account states.

“This severe breach of trust is both shocking and deeply upsetting,” Fasano said in a release Monday. “With his termination, our caucus has ceased all ties with Attorney Cronin.”

Fasano did not say what happened to the money.

Ross Garber, an attorney representing Cronin, said Cronin takes “full responsibility” for his actions.

“He voluntarily reported them to Senate Republican leadership and to the Chief State’s Attorney’s Office,”said Garber, who was chief counsel to former Gov. John G. Rowland. “He is cooperating with authorities and is committed to ensuring that all donor funds are accounted for and fully restored.”

It’s not clear whether any of the money that was misdirected affected spending on Senate campaigns. Filings by the Senate Republican Leadership Committee show that as of Oct. 31, the PAC had raised or previously had on hand a total of $177,832, and spent $113,265 on this year’s campaigns, leaving $64,556 on hand. Expenditures included, for example, $7,579 for mailings for Rep. Melissa Ziobron, who fell short in her bid for a Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Art Linares.

Cronin made $175,000 a year in his legislative position, state payroll data shows. He also is a board member on the Connecticut Judicial Branch Committee on Guardians Ad Litem and is vice chairman of the Connecticut State Marshal Commission, according to his LinkedIn page.

emunson@hearstmediact.com; Twitter: @emiliemunson

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