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Thursday, December 22, 2005

DeStefano campaign slapped with fine

Looks like the DeStefano camp gave the Republicans and Gov. Rell's campaign a early Christmas gift. Talk about bad timing; with all the media attention in the press was focused on the actions of Rell's chief of staff Lisa Moody, this is the last thing DeStefano needed.

From the Hartford Courant
Under a settlement approved Wednesday by state elections officials, the campaign of Democratic gubernatorial candidate John DeStefano Jr. has paid a $4,000 fine for accepting $65,000 from 32 donors last fall without disclosing their occupations.

State law prohibits gubernatorial campaigns from accepting donations in excess of $1,000 without disclosing the donors' occupations and employers, a requirement intended to let voters judge the influence of money on candidates.

The State Elections Enforcement Commission declined to order DeStefano to return the money, since it deemed the violation an unintentional act that already has been remedied by disclosing the required information.

Even if a refund was ordered, nothing in state law prevents the donors from sending the money right back to DeStefano, making forfeiture "an exercise of futility," according to the consent order released Wednesday.


The elections enforcement commission opened the DeStefano investigation after the Journal Inquirer of Manchester reported in October that his campaign improperly had accepted $142,700 from 99 donors who gave at least $1,000. The law, however, applies to donations exceeding $1,000, affecting 32 contributions.

Jeffrey B. Garfield, the commission's executive director, said he viewed the oversight by DeStefano's treasurer, Gaylord Bourne, to be a case of "serious neglect."

The DeStefano campaign agreed to the consent order Dec. 8 and paid the fine the next day, not waiting for the commission's formal vote Wednesday.