A former campaign volunteer of state Sen. Dennis Bradley pleaded guilty this week in federal court to charges related to an alleged campaign fraud conspiracy in which prosecutors say Bradley played a role.
Tina Manus, a 42-year-old Stratford resident, admitted to a wire fraud charge Tuesday before Judge Victor Bolden at a federal courthouse in Bridgeport. Manus worked on behalf of Bridgeport Democrat Bradley during his 2018 campaign for state Senate.
In May, Bradley and his campaign treasurer Jessica Martinez pleaded not guilty to charges they conspired to defraud Connecticut’s clean election fund by attempting to obtain $179,850 in public campaign finance grants while misreporting his campaigns finances to election regulators. Bradley is awaiting trial, which is currently scheduled for early December.
According to a Wednesday press release from the U.S. Justice Department, Manus has agreed to cooperate in the ongoing investigation and has been released on $150,000 bond.
“Manus conspired with Bradley, his former campaign treasurer, Jessica Martinez, and others to defraud the Connecticut State Election Enforcement Commission (“SEEC”), the Citizens’ Election Fund, and the State of Connecticut by making misrepresentations concerning compliance with state election law,” the Wednesday press release said in part.
Bradley has remained a member of the state Senate since his indictment in May. At the time, Senate leadership stripped him of his chairmanship of the legislature’s Public Safety and Security Committee as well as his leadership appointment as deputy majority leader.
The case stems from a March 15, 2018, campaign kick-off event held at Bridgeport restaurant Dolphin’s Cove. According to court documents, Bradley skirted clean election reporting requirements by claiming the campaign event was related to his law firm Bradley, Denkovich & Karayiannis. Bradley used the event to announce his candidacy, but his campaign financial disclosures to election regulators omitted the event and its costs.
In a May statement, acting U.S. Attorney Leonard Boyle said Bradley and Martinez broke the rules “then engaged in an extensive cover up to conceal their illegal behavior and to receive additional public funds.”
News of Manus’s guilty plea came on the heels of unrelated charges Wednesday against state Rep. Michael DiMassa, D-West Haven, who federal authorities accused of misappropriating COVID-19 relief funds in his capacity as an employee of West Haven’s city government.