Attorney General George Jepsen issued a statement Tuesday acknowledging the Auditors of Public Accounts had turned over their findings about misinformation allegations lodged against the Yankee Institute by the State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition.
“We have received a report from the State Auditors of Public Accounts on the SEBAC complaint about Yankee Institute and the state e-mail system. We continue to review the allegations and related information and will undertake any additional inquiry that may be warranted to resolve this issue as quickly as possible,” he said.
The report stems from a SEBAC request in June, asking Jepsen to investigate the Yankee Institute. They claimed the conservative think-tank had been doing whatever it could to encourage union members to vote against the tentative agreement and to vote against their own interests.
SEBAC spokesmen said the Yankee Institute had sent out electronic messages filled with incorrect information in an attempt to sabotage the union vote on the $1.6 billion concession agreement. Those emails were then circulated through the mailboxes of state employees and led to persistent and inaccurate rumors about the agreement, they said.
However, the Yankee Institute denied any involvement with spreading misinformation. Fergus Cullen, its executive director, denied the institute had involvement any misinformation campaign and dismissed the allegations as conspiracy theories.
In response to the request Jepsen said state whistleblower statutes call for the Auditors of Public Accounts to investigate their allegations of a sabotage campaign but said his office would continue looking into SEBAC claims that the institute had violated computer laws while spreading misinformation.
Matt O’Connor, spokesman for SEBAC, said they were happy Jepsen had decided to maintain jurisdiction over possible misuse of the state computer system and hoped both his investigation and that of the auditors is done in an expeditious manner.
But now that the agreement failed to reach its high bar for ratification and has been officially rejected, it’s unclear what, if any, action will be taken. Jepsen has yet to give any indication of what the auditors’ findings were.