State election regulators declined for a second week to approve Tom Foley’s public financing grant, suggesting the Republican candidate has yet to make up all of the $30,000 in donations disqualified by regulators last week.
Foley, the Republican nominee in 2010 and the candidate endorsed by delegates during the nominating convention, announced in May that he had raised the $250,000 in small donations necessary to qualify for public campaign financing.
However, when it met last week the State Elections Enforcement Commission held Foley’s application. During the meeting, the SEEC’s audit director said only about $220,970 of the $264,000 Foley had raised qualified.
During Wednesday’s meeting, Linda Waterman, the director of the SEEC’s campaign disclosure and audit unit, said the Foley campaign had not yet met the required threshold. Foley spokesman Chris Cooper said Wednesday that regulators were still questioning about $3,700 in contributions. He said he expected Foley’s application to be delayed another week.
According to Hearst Connecticut, Foley’s campaign sent an “urgent” email to supporters last Friday asking them to donate before the end of that day. The email said regulators disqualified some of the earlier donations based on a “variety of technical reasons,” including duplicate donations.
“One of the key reasons for SEEC rejection was that a donor had given twice, which resulted in both the original contribution and the duplicate being disqualified, so It is critically important that no new duplicate donations be made. We have also reached the 10 percent limit for donations from non-Connecticut donors, so any new donor must be a Connecticut resident. If you have any friends, family members or colleagues who fit these criteria, their donations at this time would be very helpful and greatly appreciated,” the email read.
If approved, Foley will get about $1.35 million for his primary race against Senate Minority Leader John McKinney. McKinney and his running mate David Walker were expected to combine their fundraising totals and apply Wednesday for a joint public financing grant. That means the two likely would not appear on a SEEC meeting agenda for approval until July 10.
Over the weekend, McKinney told reporters that it was important to qualify for the funds as soon as possible.
“The lessons of the past are very instructive,” he said. “Four years ago there was a primary where one candidate got their money very late and I think a lot of us looking at it think the timing of the grant was harmful to the campaign.”
The Republican primary will be held on Aug. 12. A third Republican candidate, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, dropped out of the race late last week because of difficulties raising enough money to qualify for the public financing grant. Whoever wins the primary will receive $6.5 million to challenge incumbent Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, assuming they have qualified for the Citizens Election Program.
On the Democratic side, Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman already have been approved for a $6.5 million public grant to finance their joint re-election campaign.
Foley was not the only one to have his application delayed Wednesday. The SEEC held public financing applications for the campaigns of Attorney General George Jepsen, Rep. Betty Boukus, Rep. Cecilia Buck-Taylor, Sen. Anthony Musto, and Rep. James Albis. Regulators also declined to approve applications from state representative candidates Michael Meadows and Richard Field.
The group approved grants for the re-election campaigns of Sen. Andres Ayala, Rep. Themis Klarides, Rep. Linda Orange, and Rep. Whit Betts. The SEEC also approved the applications of Rep. Tony Hwang’s senate campaign and the state representative campaigns of Kevin Coyner, Paul Cianci, Brian Ohler, Carol Anest, Caroline Simmons, and Douglas Sutherland.