John Frey’s Secret Relationships

In Stories by Alex Harris

Summary:

  • Frey’s personal PAC collects tens of thousands of dollars each year from corporate PACs and interest groups to finance exclusive luxury trips and entertainment for Frey.
  • Some of the contributors have interests before the state legislature and possibly the House committees on which Frey sits.
  • Frey sought and received the 2018 endorsement of the Family Institute of Connecticut (FIC), an ardently anti-LGBTQ, anti-gay marriage, anti-women’s health and anti-choice PAC.
  • FIC, the PAC whose endorsement Frey sought and received, is allied with the Mississippi-based American Family Association and the Washington DC-based Family Research Council, both of which are classified as anti-LGBTQ hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Press release issued by Ridgefield Democratic Town Committee

November 2, 2018: Ridgefield Democratic Town Committee (DTC) Chair Alex Harris criticized Ridgefield’s Republican State Representative John Frey for, “accepting tens of thousands of dollars in luxury travel and entertainment from and making himself subject to secretive and undue influence by Political Action Committees (PAC) and interest groups that are diametrically opposed to the values and interests of Ridgefield voters. I call on Representative Frey to immediately and completely disavow anddivorce himself from these questionable influences and gifts.”

Harris made his statement in response to two revelations on Thursday, November 1. First, local area social media began circulating the online version of a Hartford Courant investigative report originally published in 2017, that documented Frey’s own PAC, which collects tens of thousands of dollars each year to pay for Frey’s personal luxury travel to attend Republican National Committee (RNC) junkets. All but a fraction of the funding for Frey’s PAC is contributed by corporate lobbyists, interest groups andbusiness PACs. Some contributors represent businesses with interests before the legislature. Harris said,“This secretive arrangement of contributions to pay for travel wholly unrelated to his work as state legislator, by entities possibly subject to regulations that Frey oversees, creates more than a credible appearance of external influence.”

The second revelation occurred later in the day when the Family Institute of Connecticut Action Committee (“FIC”), a PAC staunchly opposed to women’s healthcare, a woman’s right to choose, and same-sex marriage, announced its endorsement of Representative Frey for reelection. Frey is one of only 17 Connecticut House candidates to be endorsed by FIC this year. While Frey’s socially conservative voting record is in line with the FIC’s mission (e.g., Frey voted against emergency contraception for rape victims), FIC’s announcement stated that each endorsee had to actively seek the endorsement by completing a detailed questionnaire and sitting for an interview.

FIC is ardently anti-LGBTQ. FIC’s mission statement includes fighting to restrict marriage to only between a man and a woman. In 2016, FIC attacked state Comptroller Kevin Lembo, who is openly gay, for seeking information about Mississippi-based American Family Association’s (AFA) anti-LGBTQ activities in Connecticut. Additionally, the Family Research Council (FRC) lists FIC as its sole allied “Family Policy Council” in Connecticut. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) classifies both AFA and FRC as “Anti-LGBTQ hate groups”. FIC is also fervently anti-choice. On its website, FIC states, “We’re against abortion. Period.”

DTC Chair Harris said, “Representative Frey’s active solicitation of FIC’s 2018 endorsement directly contradicts his statement in the recent Ridgefield debate in which he expressed moderated views on gay marriage and protection of LGBTQ rights. His apparently active efforts to secure the endorsement of this PAC that virulently opposes the basic rights of women and LBGTQ individuals is appalling.”

Harris continued, “Each of these revelations about Mr. Frey is, in and of itself, sufficient to question his fitness to represent Ridgefield voters in Hartford. The combination of the two solidifies the conclusion that John Frey no longer represents the best interests and values of Ridgefield and that voters should notreturn him to Hartford.”