The Connecticut Republican Party filed an election complaint Thursday against a super PAC affiliated with the Democratic Governors Association.
The complaint alleges illegal coordination between the group called Connecticut Forward and Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s re-election campaign.
According to the State Elections Enforcement Commission, Connecticut Forward spent more than $91,200 in late July on pollsters and consultants to help augment Malloy’s publicly funded campaign. It has since spent $12,000 on production of a television ad against Malloy’s Republican opponent, Tom Foley, another $6,000 on a website, and $4,200 on consultants.
Connecticut Forward was created by the DGA after a federal judge ruled that the group lacked standing to bring a lawsuit against the State Elections Enforcement Commission. The DGA sued the state back in April in an attempt to find out whether Malloy’s fundraising for the group would limit its ability to spend its money on his re-election campaign.
U.S. District Court Judge Janet Hall concluded that the DGA’s fear the state would accuse it of illegal coordination with the Malloy campaign was unfounded since the law was not based solely on the statutory scheme.
A month later the DGA created Connecticut Forward, a tax-exempt organization that can make unlimited expenditures in support or opposition to a candidate, as long as those expenditures are not coordinated with a campaign.
The Republican Party alleges in its complaint Thursday that Connecticut Forward and the Malloy campaign did coordinate the more than $91,000 in consulting and polling services.
“The expenditures DGA made by and through Connecticut Forward are in fact illegal coordinated expenditures and are not independent expenditures,” the complaint reads. “It is undisputed that the DGA made expenditures in 2010 to support Governor Malloy’s election, that Governor Malloy is a member of the DGA, that Governor Malloy solicited significant contributions for the DGA and the that the DGA formed and made expenditures through Connecticut Forward for the purpose of benefitting Governor Malloy’s re-election efforts.”
The party requested a full investigation to determine whether Malloy should receive any more public funds during the 2014 election cycle.
“This claim is utterly baseless, totally unsubstantiated, and unbelievably reckless,” Devon Puglia, a spokesman for the Democratic Party, said. “There are fewer specifics in this claim than the GOP’s policy proposals — and that’s next to nothing.”
Danny Kanner, a spokesman for the Democratic Governors Association, issued a statement calling the complaint “frivolous.”
“While it’s nice to see erratic millionaire Tom Foley is taking time off from blaming workers for losing their jobs and driving his company into bankruptcy, he and his Republican hatchet men should use the opportunity to come clean about the devastating impact his hidden policies would have on middle-class families instead of filing frivolous legal complaints,” Kanner said.
The Republican Governors Association headed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has pledged to support Foley’s campaign, but has not created an entity similar to Connecticut Forward. The SEEC reports show that no money has been spent by the RGA in Connecticut since 2010.
In July, during a stop in Greenwich, Christie said he didn’t know how much money the Republican Governors Association would dedicate to the race, “but we don’t pay for landslides and we don’t invest in lost causes.” He said he would dedicate the resources necessary to get Foley’s campaign over the finish line.