Her actions are reminiscent of widely-condemned practices by her predecessor in the office,
Since June, Merrill -- a Democrat who has preached "good government" since winning her
Merrill, who is up for re-election next year although she hasn't declared her candidacy, says her newsletter is intended to keep her constituents informed.
But the list of recipients, obtained by the Courant through a public-records request, is densely packed with names of political donors and members of the state's Democratic establishment -- the kind of people a candidate wants to stay in touch with in order to win renomination and to raise campaign funds.
Government Watch has found that:
--More than half the people on Merrill's newsletter list -- upward of 2,800 -- were members of Democratic town committees in 2010. A computer analysis found exact matches between email addresses on Merrill's list and those on a 2010 list kept by the state
--More than 150 recipients were Democratic town chairpersons.
--More than 350 recipients donated money to Merrill's 2010 campaign.
--More than 900 people on the list didn't make political donations to Merrill's campaign, but did donate to other candidates on the statewide Democratic ticket in 2010 including now-Gov.
--A computer review of state voter registration records determined the party affiliation of about 2,500 of those who receive Merrill's newsletter: 94 percent were Democrats, 2 percent were Republicans, and 4 percent were unaffiliated voters.
All of the above is consistent with a database that would be used by a candidate's election committee -- possibly Merrill's 2010 campaign committee for Secretary of the State in 2010.
However, when The Courant asked
Most of the names were sent to Merrill's office in April from the personal email account of
Emails released to The Courant show that on
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