Congresswoman Nancy Johnson’s campaign faces an investigation over its spending habits.
A Democratic Party activist has filed a complaint with the state Elections Enforcement Commission against Congresswoman Nancy Johnson’s campaign committee, alleging it made an illegal contribution to the Meriden Republican Town Committee.Daniel Pulliam, the Democratic Party’s Town Chairman in Torrington, filed the complaint May 5, calling the EEC’s attention to a $200 expenditure Johnson’s campaign made on December 7, 2004. The money went towards an adbook purchase at a Meriden RTC fundraiser, according to Johnson’s federal campaign finance filings, which Pulliam attached to his affidavit. Meriden’s RTC also listed the contribution in its state campaign finance disclosure form. State law does not allow any “person” besides a business entity to purchase advertising space in excess of $50 per year, the complaint says. Pulliam also cites a separate Connecticut statute barring contributions from a federal or out-of-state candidate.“For a veteran member of Congress, it just struck me as very amateurish they just arrogantly and blatantly violated the law,” Pulliam says.The commission is investigating Pulliam’s complaint, according to EEC executive director Jeffrey Garfield. The maximum civil penalty for any violation of campaign finance laws is $2,000 or two times the amount of the contribution, whichever is greater, Garfield says. Pulliam acknowledges the dollar amounts involved are small, so far. “She’s got $1.2 million on hand. Sooner or later this becomes real money being pushed around,” he says.A Johnson spokesman did not return a call for comment.In addition to his post as Torrington’s DTC Chairman, Pulliam works as a staffer for the Senate Democratic Caucus in Hartford. One of those caucus members, state Sen. Christopher Murphy of Southington, recently announced his intention to challenge Johnson for her seat in 2006.Asked whether he has spoken to Murphy about working for his campaign, Pulliam says no, but adds that he did have conversations with Murphy when the senator was contemplating a run. “I encouraged Chris to run for the congressional race because I thought it was the right thing to do,” Pulliam says.