Malloy’s legal counsel defends governor’s Washington trip

Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s office said it will seek an advisory opinion from a state ethics panel on whether it was OK for People magazine to pay for the governor’s trip to the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. But Luke Bronin, Malloy’s legal counsel, said Wednesday that the governor’s office has been told in the past that a nonrestricted donor may pay for a public official’s travel expenses to events that ‘‘facilitate state action or functions.’’ State Senate minority leader John McKinney said Malloy’s trip was a ‘‘clear violation’’ of state rules that prohibit any public official from accepting gifts in excess of $100 a year from a nonrestricted donor.