Gov. Dannel Malloy's office said he will reimburse People magazine for the costs associated with his attendance to the White House Correspondents Dinner.
"To remove a needless distraction when there is far more important public policy issues to deal with, Gov. Malloy has made the decision to personally reimburse People magazinefor the costs of his attendance at theWhite House Correspondents Dinner," Malloy's office said in a statement.
Malloy's office said he wrote a personal check for $1,234.62 to cover the cost.
"I just decided to cut the whole thing off. I wrote out a check," he said. "That's what I did."
The payment was made after questions were raised as to whether that the Peoplemagazine payment would have been ethical.
"(Malloy) attended the event in his official capacity and used the opportunity to advance Connecticut's interests," Malloy's office said. "The governor's office accepted People magazine's gift in order to relieve taxpayers of the cost. Instead of shifting the cost to the taxpayers, the governor is personally paying the cost."
Eyewitness News reached out to Peoplemagazine for a comment and they issued the following statement:
"With all eyes on the tragedy in Newtown, a story that People readers care deeply about and that People has been covering intensively, we saw Gov. Malloy as someone suddenly playing on a larger stage - someone interesting to our readers, our editors and other guests," said Betsy Gleick, who is the executive editor for People.
However, Senate Minority Leader John McKinney goes as far as to say the governor took an "illegal gift."
"Here, we got no information. He hid it. He didn't tell us he was going," said McKinney, who is rumored to be running for governor next year. "He didn't tell us who was paying for it. That tells you that they, internally, viewed this very differently."
However, Malloy responded to McKinney's comments at a press conference Thursday evening.
"Sen. McKinney says a lot of things and I just decided to head the whole thing off rather than take away from important work, for instance education reform that has to be done," Malloy said.
Malloy did admit going to the black tie event last weekend may not have been the best decision.
"My staff makes a lot of decisions about where I go and this was thought because of what we're trying to do on digital media, as well as public policy on other issues, that were referenced in the press release, that this was a good idea," he said. "In retrospect, [I] probably shouldn't have done it."
The governor said he believes writing the check ends any questions and he will not be asking a citizens's ethics board for their opinion.
"The fact that he's repaid the money, doesn't close the books entirely. That's not how our society works," McKinney said. "You can't do something wrong and then not be held accountable for it just because you paid back the money."
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