State Democrats investigated for illegally using federal money on Malloy’s state reelection campaign

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HARTFORD–State Republicans are looking into the possibility that Gov. Dan Malloy and the state Democratic party used federal funds illegally as part of his reelection campaign.

The subpoena asks for all documents related to a mailing sent by the party on Malloy’s behalf. The subpoena alleges that the party tried to pass off a Malloy advocacy mailer as a “get-out-the-vote” mailer, which the party can legally use federal campaign funds for.

Further, the subpoena alleges that the Democrats asked the FEC if they could use campaign funds for the mailer, including money from contributions from state contractors that appears to be similar to pay-to-play.

Under federal law, state contractors are allowed to contribute up to $10,000 to the federal account. State laws ban them from giving money to candidates for state offices.

The Democrats supposedly didn’t wait for a response from the FEC before using the money.

Mailers such as get-out-the-vote messages must have a disclaimer that says “not authorized by any candidate.” Instead, the mailer supposedly said “not authorized by any federal candidate or candidate’s committee.” Normally, the word federal wouldn’t be used because the federal money can only be used for federal campaigns.

Connecticut Democratic Party Executive Director Michael Mandell responded to the subpoena:

As we have always said, the DSCC did and continues to follow all state and federal rules, laws, and regulations. We took extraordinary steps not only to live by the letter of the law, but also in accordance with the spirit of the law. There is an inherent conflict between the requirements of federal and state campaign finance laws as to how get-out-the-vote activity must be funded, and we believe that state law is clearly pre-empted by federal law in this case. That’s why we have taken action in State Superior Court –  we are hoping to resolve this matter equitably and expeditiously.

The Democratic State Central Comittie has appealed the decision from the State Elections Enforcement Commission that dismissed the DSCC’s request for the subpoena and investigation to have a declaratory ruling to clarify how campaign finance laws exist in Connecticut.