HARTFORD — Preparing for another run for governor, Republican Tom Foley managed to lose some political points Monday with members of his own party when he accused the General Assembly of turning a blind eye to tougher conflict-of-interest rules.
The Greenwich businessman — who narrowly lost to Governor Dannel P. Malloy, a Democrat, in 2010 — offended members of the Government Administration and Elections Committee by saying that ‘‘it is no wonder’’ Connecticut has laws on the books that permit ‘‘flagrant conflicts of interest between public officials and the state’s citizens’’ when ‘‘the foxes are running the henhouse.’’
Foley was testifying in favor of a bill he helped to write that would prohibit a public official, state employee, or an immediate family member from receiving $1,000 or more from certain state contractors, a lobbying organization, or public employee union, calling it ‘‘a sleazy practice’’ to allow a lawmaker to work for such entities while serving in the part-time General Assembly.
Representative Rosa Rebimbas, Republican of Naugatuck, who was among those to point out drafting mistakes in the legislation, said the former US ambassador’s comments were demeaning, calling it disgraceful to lump all legislators into the same category.
‘‘The Capitol is not a henhouse and I am not a hen,’’ Rebimbas said.
‘‘I get it; there’s an election coming up. I get that,’’ echoed Representative David Labriola, Republican of Oxford. ‘‘I don’t think it’s helpful to use that kind of bombastic language, with all due respect.’’
Foley is one of a handful of Republicans who have expressed interest in challenging Malloy in 2014.
The list includes the two top Republican leaders of the General Assembly: Senate minority leader John McKinney and House minority leader Lawrence Cafero Jr.