The Connecticut News Project is the nonprofit organization that publishes the Mirror. It is led by a 10-member board, eight of whom have made recorded donations to political candidates totaling more than $125,000.
Seventy percent of the contributions went to Democrats.
Shelley Geballe, co-president of the non-profit board, contributed the most. Geballe, an attorney, Yale lecturer and founding president of CT Voices for Children, accounted for more than half of the donations to federal candidates ($70,150) and a third of the donations to state candidates ($2,600).
All of Geballe’s donations went to Democratic candidates or Democratic-affiliated groups.
“The CT News Project doesn’t take positions on public policy. Rather, it’s an independent, non-partisan organization that established CT Mirror to provide accurate, in-depth reporting on state government by award-winning professional journalists,” Geballe said. “As is the case with other professional news organizations, the Board of CNP has no say about the content of news articles published, as that is the exclusive domain of the editor of CT Mirror.”
“The board and the website have a strict church/state relationship,” said Mirror editor Jenifer Frank. “Board members have absolutely no influence on what we publish.”
Stanley Twardy Jr., a lawyer and former chief of staff to Gov. Lowell Weicker, donated the second largest amount ($38,300 federal; $1,600 state), 95 percent of which went to Republicans.
Twardy said he doesn’t think the Mirror should disclose board member donations because they are already public information.
William Cibes Jr., a former budget chief for Weicker and chancellor of the state university system, gave entirely to Democrats at the federal level ($8,950). Most of his state donations ($1,230) went to Democrats as well.
The board also includes people with political involvement outside of financial contributions: Julia Belaga, a political appointee in the administrations of President George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton; Juan Figueroa, a former Democratic candidate for governor and longtime head of the Universal Health Care Foundation; Jeannette DeJesús, a former healthcare advisor to Gov. Dannel Malloy and a member of his administration.
Two journalists on the board have made no recorded political contributions.