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Super PAC backed by Greenwich billionaire fuels anti-Maynard ads

By Joe Wojtas

Publication: theday.com

Published 10/26/2012 12:00 AM
Updated 10/27/2012 07:54 AM

A Greenwich billionaire whose super PAC is spending millions across the country opposing national Democratic candidates has set his sights on Andrew Maynard of Stonington, the three-term Democratic state senator running for re-election in the 18th District.

Voters for Good Government Inc. of Fairfield, whose sole contributor is Thomas Peterffy, filed documents Friday with the state Elections Enforcement Commission showing it is spending $26,987 on television ads opposing Maynard's candidacy. Earlier this week, the PAC filed papers showing it also was spending $37,969 on ads to oppose the re-election of 4th District Democratic state Sen. Steve Cassano.

Peterffy is the chairman and chief executive officer of Interactive Brokers Group, the world's largest online broker. His net worth is estimated by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index at $7.6 billion.

Peterffy could not be reached to comment Friday afternoon.

"I find it troubling that a billionaire from outside the district can throw money into a race that should be decided on its merits by the people who live there," said Maynard, adding that he assumes Voters for Good Government will be targeting more of his Democratic General Assembly colleagues in the last week before the campaign.

According to Bloomberg News, Peterffy said this week that Connecticut's estate tax is forcing wealthy older residents to leave the state. His national ads urge people to vote Republican because socialism is removing Americans' will to succeed.

Both Maynard and his Republican challenger Theresa Madonna of Griswold have received state Citizens' Election Program grants of $91,290 after collecting $15,000 each from 300 small donors. As part of this program, they are not allowed to receive any PAC money.

Maynard said he is perplexed as to why Peterffy would target him, especially since he is among just a handful of Democratic state legislators who have been endorsed by the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, the state's largest business organization.

Maynard said one reason the CBIA endorsed him is because of his successful effort to kill new taxes on the state's marinas and its aviation industry.

"I have a strong pro-business record," he said. "If I was some wild-eyed party hack, you could imagine someone like this coming after you. But I'm about as moderate as they come in the (Democratic) caucus."

Madonna said Friday that she knew nothing about the campaign against Maynard by Voters for Good Government.

"If the PAC wants to run something on their own, that's their deal. I have no control over it," she said, adding that because of her participation in the Citizens' Election Program, she could not even talk to such a group if it contacted her.

The 18th district comprises Griswold, Groton, North Stonington, Plainfield, Preston, Sterling, Stonington and Voluntown.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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