State election regulators are poised to make a decision today on whether Northeast Utilities CEO Thomas May violated state election law last year when he asked company managers to contribute money to the Democratic Party to help Gov. Dannel P. Malloy win re-election.
The State Elections Enforcement Commission has twice postponed making a decision on the complaint. This is the third time it will be on their agenda. The complaint was made by a Greenwich resident who read the Courant’s story last December about the Sept. 2013 solicitation email May sent to the utility company’s subordinates.
The email, according to a Dec. 4, 2013 Courant article, encouraged the managers to give to the Democratic Party’s federal account. According to Federal Election Commission reports, NU employees quickly contributed $45,000 to that account.
At the time, Malloy wasn’t even a candidate. He didn’t announce his re-election until March.
In January, the Democratic Party refunded $40,000 in donations from state contractors who gave money to the party’s state account. Some of those donations were later given to the party’s federal account.
NU is on the list of state contractors prohibited from contributing to state campaigns. Instead, the money sometimes finds its way to the federal account, which can indirectly be used to pay for state party administration and get-out-the-vote efforts.
The SEEC is wrestling with whether May’s email violated state election law intended to keep state contractor money out of campaigns. The legislature passed campaign finance reform in 2005 in response to the corruption scandal involving former Gov. John G. Rowland.
In late March, election regulators determined that Malloy himself didn’t violate any laws when he went on an October 2013 trip to California to raise money for the Connecticut Democratic Party.
The State Elections Enforcement Commission will meet at 9 a.m. today.