Richard Blumenthal: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Richard Blumenthal

Richard Blumenthal in 2008

Assumed office 
Preceded by Clarine Nardi Riddle

Member of the Connecticut Senate from the 27th district
In office
Preceded by Anthony D. Truglia[1]
Succeeded by George Jepson[2]

Member of the Connecticut House of Representatives from the 145th district[3]
In office

Born February 13, 1946 (1946-02-13) (age 64)
Brooklyn, New York
Nationality United States
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Cynthia Blumenthal
Alma mater Yale Law School
Harvard College
Religion Jewish [4]

Richard Blumenthal (born February 13, 1946) is an American lawyer and politician. A member of the Democratic Party, he has been Attorney General of Connecticut since 1991. He is a candidate in the 2010 U.S. Senate election for the seat currently held by Christopher Dodd.[5]



Blumenthal graduated from Harvard College magna cum laude and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. As an undergraduate, he swam on the Harvard Varsity Swim Team and was also editorial chairman of The Harvard Crimson.[6] Blumenthal also was selected for a Fiske Fellowship that allowed him to study at Cambridge University, Cambridge England for one year after graduation from Harvard College. He received his J.D. from Yale Law School, where he was editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal.[7]

He also served as a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.[8]

Early political career

Blumenthal had a brief career as a newspaper reporter for The Washington Post. He was hired by Benjamin C. Bradlee, editor of the Post, and worked on the Metro desk.

Blumenthal served as administrative assistant to United States Senator Abraham A. Ribicoff, as aide to Daniel P. Moynihan (who would later be a United States Senator) when Moynihan was Assistant to President Richard Nixon, and as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun. At age 31, he became United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, serving from 1977 to 1981, and as the chief federal prosecutor of that state successfully prosecuted many major cases against drug traffickers, organized crime, white collar criminals, civil rights violators, consumer frauds, and environmental polluters. From 1981 to 1986, he was a volunteer counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

Before he became Attorney General, Blumenthal was elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives at 38 in 1983, representing the 145th district. In 1987, he won a special election to fill a vacany in the 27th District of the Connecticut Senate, at the age of 41. Blumenthal resided in Stamford, Connecticut.

Attorney General career

He was first elected as the 23rd Attorney General in 1990 and was re-elected in 1994, 1998, 2002, and 2006. On October 10, 2002 he was awarded the Raymond E. Baldwin Award for Public Service by the Quinnipiac University School of Law.[9]


Big East and ACC

Attorney General Blumenthal played a pivotal role in one of the biggest college athletics stories of the decade; expansion of the Atlantic Coast Conference and the departures of Boston College, Miami, and Virginia Tech from the Big East. He led efforts by the Big East football schools (Virginia Tech, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, and West Virginia) in legal proceedings against the Atlantic Coast Conference, the University of Miami and Boston College, accusing them of improper disclosure of confidential information and of conspiring to weaken the Big East.[10] These suits cost the schools involved over $2 million in just the first four months of litigation that proceeded for over two years.[11] The lawsuit against the ACC was dismissed on jurisdictional grounds, though it was refiled later.[12] A declaratory judgment by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts exonerated Boston College in the matter. Virginia Tech accepted an invitation from the ACC and withdrew from the suit to remove themselves from the awkward position of suing their new conference.

Although all of the suits failed in court, a secret out of court settlement was eventually reached.[13] The details, that each school received $1 million, were disclosed after the Hartford Courant filed a Freedom of Information request to obtain relevant documents which were not made public by the Attorney General.[14] Although Attorney General Blumenthal insisted in a statement that the settlement protected Connecticut taxpayers "critical investment in the UConn football program", press accounts detailed that the amount of the settlement covered less than half of the legal fees that each school incurred from participating in the litigation. (e.g., "Legal fees in Big East lawsuit top $2 million" by Mickey Furfari, Charleston Daily Post, Thursday, June 16, 2006)

Regional transmission organization

In 2003 Blumenthal, along with former Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly, Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch, and consumer advocates from Connecticut, Maine, and New Hampshire, opposed "the formation of a regional transmission organization (RTO) that would merge three Northeast and mid-Atlantic power operators, called Independent Service Operators (ISOs), into a single super-regional RTO."[15] In a press release he is quoted as saying "This fatally flawed RTO proposal will raise rates, reduce accountability and reward market manipulation. It will increase the power and profits of transmission operators with an immediate $40 million price tag for consumers."[16] The opposition was due to a report authored by Synapse Energy Economics, Inc., a Cambridge-based energy consulting firm, which alleged that consumers would be worse off under the merger.[17]

Interstate air pollution

In 1997, both Blumenthal and Governor John G. Rowland petitioned the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address interstate air pollution problems created from Midwest and southeastern sources.[18] The petition was filed in accordance with Section 126 of the Clean Air Act, which allows a United States state to request pollution reductions from out-of-state sources that contribute significantly to its air quality problems.

In 2003 his office, along with eleven other states, filed suit to prevent what they claimed was the "changes that threaten to gut the New Source Review (NSR) section of the federal Clean Air Act." Specifically, they objected to the "new regulation [that] states that any modification costing up to 20 percent of the replacement cost of the unit will be considered routine maintenance – and therefore exempt from pollution controls, even if the plant modification produces much higher levels of air pollution."[19] The suit filed in conjunction with New York, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin. A number of local governments, including the New York City and various Connecticut municipalities, were also plaintiffs in the suit.

Global warming

Blumenthal has been a vocal advocate of the position that human activity is responsible for rising global temperatures and that prompt action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions must be taken. He has urged the Environmental Protection Agency to declare carbon dioxide as a dangerous air pollutant. "I urge the new Obama EPA to declare carbon dioxide a danger to human health and welfare so we can at last begin addressing the potentially disastrous threat global warming poses to health, the environment and our economy. We must make up for lost time before it's too late to curb dangerous warming threatening to devastate the planet and human society." [20] He has brought suit against a number of electric utilities in the Midwest, arguing that coal burning power plants are generating excess CO2 emissions. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently agreed to allow Blumenthal's lawsuit to proceed.[21] Blumenthal personally has stated "no reputable climate scientist disputes the reality of global warming. It is fact, plain and simple. Dithering will be disastrous." [22]

Stanley Works

On May 10, 2002 both he and Connecticut State Treasurer Denise L. Nappier helped to stop the hostile takeover of New Britain-based Stanley Works, a major Connecticut employer, by filing a lawsuit alleging that the move to reincorporate in Bermuda based on a shareholder's vote of May 9[23] was "rife with voting irregularities." The agreement to temporarily halt the move was signed by New Britain Superior Court Judge Marshall Berger.[24] On June 3 Blumenthal referred the matter to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for further investigation[25] and on June 25 he testified before the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means that "Long-time American corporations with operations in other countries can dodge tens of millions of dollars in federal taxes by the device of reincorporating in another country" by "simply [filing] incorporation papers in a country with friendly tax laws, open a post-office box and hold an annual meeting there" and that Stanley Works, along with "Cooper Industries, Seagate Technologies, Ingersoll-Rand and PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting, to name but a few, have also become pseudo-foreign corporations for the sole purpose of saving tax dollars." Blumenthal stated that "Corporations proposing to reincorporate to Bermuda, such as Stanley, often tell shareholders that there is no material difference in the law" but said that this was not the case and was misleading to their shareholders.[26] In order to rectify this situation he championed the Corporate Patriot Enforcement Act to close tax loopholes.[27]

Blumenthal's position generated some controversy. On May 9, 2003 the Wall Street Journal wrote an editorial stating that "Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and GOP Congresswoman Nancy Johnson will no doubt now want to take some responsibility for the company's decision this week to lay off 1,000 workers and close nine facilities." However, in the same article, it was noted that those jobs would likely have been at peril whether or not Blumenthal intervened. The company had already made the decision to relocate its factories to Bermuda and, consequently, receive $30 million in tax breaks.[28]


In May 2007 Blumenthal demanded that the social networking site Myspace turn over a list of known sex offenders who used the site. He was quoted saying "these convicted, registered sex offenders clearly create profiles seeking to prey on children."[29] After initial refusal, MySpace turned over a list of 5,000 names, including 100 from Connecticut. Blumenthal planned to turn this information over to law enforcement to ascertain if any probation violations had occurred.[30] A Blumenthal critic, Republican state chairman Chris Healy, praised this effort.

Interstate 84

In 2007, Blumenthal became involved in the controversy over a botched reconstruction project of the Interstate 84 in Waterbury and Cheshire. The original contractor for the job went out of business and it was later revealed hundreds of storm drains were improperly installed. After the U.S. Department of Transportation threatened to withhold funds on April 24, 2007.[31] Blumenthal announced a lawsuit by the end of the day against the former contractor and an engineering firm that inspected the project.[32] Blumenthal had already settled all claims with the project's bonding company a month earlier for only $17.5 million of the project's $54 million cost.[33]

Same-sex marriage

In 2004 Blumenthal offered an opinion that Connecticut law did not permit same-sex marriage.[34]

Terrorist surveillance program

In October 2007, Blumenthal was among only four state attorneys general to lobby Congress to reject proposals to provide immunity from litigation to telecommunications firms that cooperated with the federal government's terrorist surveillance program following the September 11 attacks in 2001. While suits against telecommunications firms were favored by the American Civil Liberties Union and, they were opposed by both the Bush Administration and Democrats such as Diane Feinstein.[35][36] In 2008 the Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed into law a new terrorist surveillance bill including the telecom immunity provisions opposed by Blumenthal.


He deals with compacts between the state and sovereign tribes regarding their casinos, and has publicly discussed the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe's handling of liability for injuries to non-Indians on the premises of Foxwoods Resort Casino.[37]

Countrywide Financial

In August 2008 Blumenthal announced Connecticut had joined California, Illinois and Florida in suing subprime mortgage lender Countrywide Financial(now owned by Bank of America) for fraudulent business practices. Blumenthal alleged that Connecticut consumers had been victimized by the mortgage giant.[38][39][40] Connecticut Republicans had pressured Blumenthal to bring suit, noting Countrywide's ties to U.S. Senator Chris Dodd.[41] Blumenthal has defended the Senator, stating that "there's no evidence of wrongdoing on [Mr. Dodd's] part any more than victims who were misled or deceived by Countrywide," although his office has never investigated the Countrywide deals.[42]

Microsoft lawsuit

In 1998 Blumenthal sued Microsoft alleging antitrust violations in the marketing of the Windows 98 operating system. Blumenthal claimed the suit was a "D-Day" for consumers.[43] The lawsuit proved unsuccessful in its goals , however "The browser war is over, and Microsoft won it," Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said.[44]

Prospect of gubernatorial candidacy

Blumenthal was frequently considered a top prospect to run as the Democratic candidate for Governor of Connecticut but he did not challenge Republican governors John G. Rowland or M. Jodi Rell in the elections of 1998, 2002, and 2006.

On March 18, 2007, Hartford Courant columnist Kevin Rennie reported Blumenthal had become seriously interested in running for Governor in 2010.[45] At a 2008 Boys' State Conference, Blumenthal was asked whether or not he would run; he answered the question by saying that he loved what he was doing and didn't have any plans for the future just yet. On February 2, 2009, Blumenthal announced he would forego a gubernatorial run and seek re-election that year as Attorney General.[46]

2010 U.S. Senate election

After Sen. Chris Dodd announced on January 6, 2010 that he would retire at the end of his term, Blumenthal told the Associated Press that he will run in the election for Dodd's seat in November.[47] Later that day, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden called Blumenthal to express their best wishes.[48]

The same day, Public Policy Polling released a poll they took on the two preceding evenings, including races where Blumenthal was paired against each of the three most mentioned Republicans contending for their party's nomination for the seat. He led by at least 30% in each hypothetical race: against Rob Simmons 59-28, against Linda McMahon 60-28, and against Peter Schiff 63-23, with a ±4.3% margin of error cited.[49] Rasmussen Reports also polled after Blumenthal announced his candidacy and found a somewhat more competitive race, but with Blumenthal holding a strong lead. A February poll by Rasmussen found that Blumenthal still held leads of 19 (against Simmons) and 20 (against McMahon), and that Republicans had made up little ground since the initial Rasmussen poll after Blumenthal announced.[50] .[51]

Blumenthal has started to distance himself somewhat from the administration, highlighting his independent record and declining to commit to welcoming the President to visit Connecticut during the campaign.[52][53]


In 2007, Hans Bader, Counsel for Special Projects of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (a Libertarian think-tank) ranked Blumenthal as "the nation's worst state attorney general", based on "a set of explicit criteria — such as encroachment on the powers of other branches of government, meddling in the affairs of other states or federal agencies, encouragement of judicial activism and frivolous lawsuits, favoritism towards campaign contributors, ethical breaches, and failure to provide representation to state agencies or to provide legal advice." Bader singled out Blumenthal for his role in the 1998 tobacco settlement and state efforts to regulate carbon dioxide in other states through lawsuits against out-of-state companies.[54] All of the ten attorneys general ranked by Bader are Democrats.

In a landmark Connecticut Supreme Court decision, Blumenthal v. Barnes a unanimous court determined that Blumenthal sued the owner of a charter school while lacking authority to bring the suit. Justice Peter T. Zarella concluded in this 2002 opinion that the office of the attorney general is "a creature of statute that is governed by statute and, thus, has no common-law authority."[55][56]

Further reading


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  5. ^ Connecticut’s Attorney General Will Seek Dodd’s Senate Seat
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  48. ^ Matt Negrin (2010-01-07). "Boosting Blumenthal: Obama, Biden call Conn. AG". Politico. Retrieved 2010-02-16. 
  49. ^ "Blumenthal starts with commanding lead", p. 3, Q12 - Q14.
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  54. ^,05719.cfm
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External links



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