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Democrats send back illegal $10,000 to Comcast-Spectacor boss

Oops, wrong account, says Ed Snider's camp

Connecticut's state Democratic committee said it would return $10,000 to Comcast-Spectacor boss Ed Snider, of Gladwyne, after the Connecticut Post reported the donation was illegal.

Snider gave the party the money after wrongly stating in a report that he was not a state contractor (in Connecticut, state contractors aren't supposed to give money to state politicians), state Democratic spokesman James Hallinan told the Post here. In fact, Comcast-Spectacor's Global Spectrum divison operates Connecticut-owned XL Center and Rentschler Field.

How'd that happen? "Ed Snider's contribution was inadvertently paid to the State Account of the Democratic State Party" instead of its account for national candidates, Comcast-Spectacor spokesman Ike Richman told me. "Ed is grateful that the state party has refunded this contribution out of an abundance of caution to put this technical issue to rest."

"While the Philadelphia-based chairman of Comcast-Spectacor is free to contribute" to Connecticut-based national candidates, "his subsidiary company, Global-Spectrum, is on a list of contractors prohibited from giving to the party's state war chest," pointed out the Hartford Courant here last week.

"Mr. Snider wrote his check six months after his company's subsidiary, Global Spectrum, was chosen to operate the XL Center in Hartford and Rentschler Field, the UConn football stadium in East Hartford. The two facilities are owned by the state and overseen by the quasi-public Capital Region Development Authority, arguably making Mr. Snider a state contractor," the Courant added. Some $1.8 million in state bonding for improvements to the XL Center is being voted on Friday.

"Mr. Snider's $10,000 contribution was challenged by Connecticut Republican leaders, and for good reason. State contractors may not donate to a party's state campaign treasury. Mr. Snider claims not to be a state contractor, and his firm is not on a list of contractors banned by state law from giving to a party's state account. But it should be, since it's managing state facilities."