FBI agents have sought to question at least one Republican state senator in an investigation that up to now had been known to focus only on Republican House of Representatives candidates’ payments to a Florida printing and direct-mail firm, The Courant has learned.
A spokesman for state Senate Republicans, Adam Liegeot, Tuesday confirmed reports from Courant sources that FBI agents last week walked into the Banks Committee’s office in the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, saying they wished to talk with freshman state Sen. Art Linares, R-Westbrook, about Direct Mail Systems of Clearwater, Florida.
State campaign financing records show that Linares’ campaign committee paid $39,910 in October 2012 to the Florida firm, which has received about $2 million since 2008 from Republican candidates for the state legislature, most of them running for the House.
Confirmation of the federal agents’ interest in talking with Linares adds a new dimension to the probe, which was said to focus on House Republicans when news of it broke last week. FBI agents spent most of Wednesday questioning lawmakers in House Republicans’ offices in the L.O.B., and returned to finish up Thursday.
Direct Mail Systems is one of two out-of-state printing and mailing houses named in federal grand jury subpoenas served last week on the House Republican offices and two political committees affiliated with House Republicans.
Several Republican legislators said last week, on condition of anonymity, that FBI agents were asking them if business from their campaigns had been steered to the Florida firm. Among matters in which federal investigators have expressed interest, sources said, are any fees Direct Mail Systems paid to Gallo or his consulting company.
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