Hugh McQuaid file photo
Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley and his former campaign manager will have to pay the State Elections Enforcement Commission $15,504, the cost of a poll he commissioned last February.

Attorney Kevin Ahern concluded that the poll, which was conducted in March and released in April, triggered Foley’s 2014 candidacy.

The poll was conducted by the Tarrance Group, a Republican polling and strategy firm out of Virginia and was commissioned by Voters for Good Government Inc., a firm run by Justin Clark, Foley’s 2010 campaign manager.

“These items were promotional of a Foley candidacy and as such were deemed to be made for the purpose of influencing Mr. Foley’s nomination for election to public office,” Ahern concluded. “This act automatically triggered Mr. Foley’s candidacy for public office.”

“Attendant to that event, it was incumbent upon Mr. Foley to register as a candidate with the Commission and begin to file periodic reports of his campaign’s financial activity,” Ahern wrote. “At no point up to and including the initiation of this investigation, did Mr. Foley register or report the activity as required under the General Statutes.” Ahern’s report alleges that Foley failed to disclose the expenditure on three different occasions.

Foley also will have to pay the commission $600 for missing the filings related to the expenditure for the poll.

“If Mr. Foley abides by these terms, the Commission will agree to not consider the circumstances of this matter as prejudicial to Mr. Foley if he applies for the CEP [Citizens’ Election Program],” Ahern wrote.

Foley said the settlement agreement doesn’t change anything. He said all the SEEC is alleging is that he should have filed in March, instead of September. And even though he signed the agreement, Foley said he still disagrees with the conclusion.

“Under federal law this is not an expenditure,” Foley said Wednesday in a phone interview. “This is just the staff at the SEEC interpreting three words.”

None of this, Foley said, will impact his exploratory campaign committee, except for the fact he will be required to file an addendum with the $15,504 expenditure.