HARTFORD, CT — State election regulators voted Wednesday to send a subpoena to a consultant for a former Republican gubernatorial candidate and they announced they reached a draft settlement agreement with a straw donor to that same candidate.
The State Elections Enforcement Commission voted to send a subpoena to Dick Foley, a former Republican Party chairman and consultant to Steve Obsitnik’s gubernatorial campaign.
Regulators believe he has information that may be necessary to their investigation of Obsitnik’s campaign and the solicitation of donations.
Foley declined comment Wednesday.
The SEEC is investigating two complaints. One regarding Obsitnik’s publicly financed campaign and another involving FixCT, Inc., an independent expenditure group raised $145,000 and spent $132,000 mostly on digital media creation and ad buys on behalf of Obsitnik.
Obsitnik was the last of the Republican gubernatorial candidates to qualify for $1.3 million in public financing. It took eight tries before the commission accepted his application.
Part of the reason it took so long for him to qualify was because the commission staff discovered fraudulent contributions.
Andrew Robert Grant made a personal $100 contribution to Obsitnik’s campaign and “six cash contributions” along with “six fraudulent certification forms,” SEEC Attorney Ryan Burns explained to the commission.
The penalty for submitting false information is $16,000, but the fine will be cut in half as long as the settlement agreement is signed and Grant continues to cooperate with the commission.
Grant has 10 days to sign the settlement agreement and send an $8,000 check to the SEEC.
It’s unclear exactly what regulators are looking at when it comes to FixCT, Inc.
Connect Strategic Communications, the Texas company which received a majority of the money spent by FixCT Inc., did about $2,000 worth of work for Obsitnik’s exploratory committee in September 2017.
Independent expenditure groups, which are allowed to exist under the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, are not allowed to coordinate with a candidate’s campaign committee. Having the same vendor work for both committees would have raised some red flags.