Nancy Johnson’s campaign faces a second elections complaint, but she may not be the only one who screwed up.
A second complaint over Congresswoman Nancy Johnson’s (R-5th) campaign expenditures has been filed with the state Elections Enforcement Commission, this time by a member of Simsbury’s Democratic Town Committee. William Tyszka contends Johnson’s campaign violated state law when it donated $750 to Danbury’s Republican Town Committee last August. Tyszka’s charge is very similar to another EEC complaint- reported last week by CTNEWSJUNKIE.COM- in which Torrington Democratic Party Chairman Daniel Pulliam raised questions about a $250 contribution to Meriden’s Republican Town Committee from Johnson’s campaign (see Rule Breaker?, 5/18/05).Johnson spokesman Brian Schubert did not return two messages seeking comment on the two complaints.We were able to reach Danbury RTC treasurer Robert Zarbock, however. He acknowledged the $750 contribution from Johnson’s campaign, saying the money represented Johnson’s share of rent for a campaign office. Zarbock contacted the Secretary of State’s office , he says, and was told that statute prohibits federal candidates from giving to state campaign committees, but allows donations to party committees.“We’ve been getting money from her in some form for ten years,” Zarbock says.Actually, a look at C.G.S. Section 9-333s(b) appears to contradict Zarbock’s understanding of the law. “A party committee…may not receive contributions from any other account of a national committee of a political party or from a committee of a candidate for federal or out-of-state office, for use in the election of candidates subject to the provisions of this chapter,” the statute says.However, Zarbock says the practice is so common the Democrats in Danbury do it too. He is right on this score: In May 2002, Friends of Jim Maloney Inc. made a $100 donation to the Danbury Democratic Town Committee, which may also violate the same statute. The Pulliam complaint surrounding Johnson’s dealings with the Meriden RTC, though, also alleges she used $250 to buy advertising space, which may violate a separate statute. Tyszka does not make such an allegation regarding the Danbury contribution.