New Haven Mayor John DeStefano’s former Deputy Chief of Staff Robert Smuts, who took a leave of absence to work on DeStefano’s campaign for governor, filed an election complaint against Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s campaign Thursday for alleged violations of the state’s campaign finance laws. Smuts alleges in the complaint that Rell’s campaign failed to follow the letter of the law by not reporting that at least three individuals who contributed in excess of $1,000, work for a company with a state contract over $5,000. Sound familiar? Last October DeStefano’s campaign was busted for a similar violation when it failed to identify the occupations and employers of contributors to his own campaign.
State law requires both the job and the employer of each contributor who contributes over $1,000 to be specifically detailed. DeStefano’s campaign ended up paying a $4,000 penalty for what its former campaign manager, Shonu Gandhi, described to the Journal Inquirer as an “unintentional” omission. The Elections Enforcement Commission decided to investigate DeStefano’s campaign after Journal Inquirer reporter, Don Michak, wrote a story about how the campaign had failed to report the occupations and employers of 99 donors who each gave him at least $1,000. Ultimately the $4,000 fine was based on 32 contributions. Here’s a list of three donors DeStefano’s campaign pointed out in Thursday’s complaint against Rell’s campaign:William J. McGrath’s $2,500 contribution on 9/19/06 is not marked as astate-contractor contribution. His employer Halloran and Sage has at least a$50,000 contract with the state.Deborah Poerio’s $2,500 contribution on 7/11/06 is not marked as a state-contractor contribution. Her employer Manchester Memorial Hospital has at least a $40,000 contract with the state.Norman Marieb’s $2,500 contribution on 7/19/06 is not marked as a state-contractor contribution. His employer Hospital of St. Raphael has at least a $40,000 contract with the state.“Rell’s October filing identified no state contractors who gave over $1,000. I was able to identify several examples of contributions from state contractors who gave over $1,000 after a brief survey of her campaign filings. I am sure a comprehensive analysis would reveal additional violations,” Smuts writes in the complaint.