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CT GOP is raising federal money (whether they disclose it or not)

Yesterday, the Connecticut Democratic Party raised questions about the Connecticut GOP’s recent decision to switch their filing status from monthly to semi-yearly to avoid disclosure, explicitly prohibiting them from engaging in “federal election activity”.

If you’re wondering whether Connecticut Republicans are raising money to support federal election activities, look no further than their website, which boasts the following disclaimer:

“Thank you for supporting the Connecticut Republican Party-Federal account. These funds are used exclusively for the purpose of supporting federal candidates and federal election activities. Contributions from state lobbyists and Connecticut state contractors are accepted and allowed in this account.”

disclaimer (1)

 

How can they not be engaging in federal election activities?

In fact, they are specifically soliciting state contractors to donate to their federal account – to “support” federal candidates.

Though technically legal, specifically soliciting state contractors for federal accounts is a highly questionable tactic.

“The public has a right to know who funds our political parties. But apart from Linda and Vince McMahon bankrolling their state account, the Connecticut GOP is keeping their donors secret and avoiding disclosure. What are they hiding?” – Connecticut Democratic Party Executive Director Michael Mandell

What are Connecticut Republicans hiding?

Hartford, Ct. –  On today’s FEC monthly filing deadline, Connecticut Democrats are raising questions about the Connecticut GOP’s recent decision to switch their filing status from monthly to semi-yearly to avoid disclosure. This explicitly prohibits them from engaging in “federal election activity”.

“Something doesn’t add up,” said Connecticut Democratic Party Executive Director Michael Mandell. “This is typical of Connecticut Republicans. They’re clearly recruiting candidates, raising money, and preparing to support Marco Rubio and his failed policies in the 2016 primary. Yet they’re trying to say that they aren’t engaging in federal election activity… hmm. What are they hiding that they can’t put in a monthly report?”

State parties are responsible for recruiting candidates to run in federal elections, as well as promoting federal candidates. It is hard to believe that the state party has not spent time on candidate recruitment, particularly because Jerry Labriola openly said that they were actively recruiting candidates to challenge Senator Richard Blumenthal. With the GOP presidential primary underway – and with their recent endorsement of Marco Rubio – state GOP staff is most certainly spending time trying to find a role in the 2016 presidential election.

Point in fact – the very act of fundraising for a federal account could be considered federal election activity. And as they highlight the Chairman’s endorsed candidate for President, Marco Rubio, at the Prescott Bush dinner – they are most certainly working to build that annual federal fundraising dinner.

Finally, the Democratic Party has always followed the letter of the law on disclosure, and files state reports every quarter (and more often during municipal elections) and federal reports every month. Yet there has been no Republican FEC report since filing their 2014 year end report on January 29. We know only that Linda and Vince McMahon are bankrolling the Republican party’s state account, but that doesn’t add up to the money being spent on running the party and their relentless misleading attacks on Governor Dan Malloy.

“We just want to know where the money is at the CT GOP. By avoiding reporting on their donations and expenditures, they are circumventing what has always been a hallmark of our state parties – and that is the campaign finance disclosures – and we are wondering why,” added Mandell.

Background

  • Federal election activity is generally considered to take place only within a 120 day window of a federal election. However, there are two important exceptions to the 120 day window: (1) Employees who spend 25% or more of their time on activities in connection with a federal election; and (2) public communications which “promote, support, oppose or attack” (“PSAO”) a federal candidate. These activities are considered federal election activity regardless of timing.

    The following is found in section (b)(4) of the code for Federal Election Activity:

Services provided during any month by an employee of a State, district, or local committee of a political party who spends more than 25 percent of that individual’s compensated time during that month on activities in connection with a Federal election.

The federal code can be found here: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2011-title11-vol1/xml/CFR-2011-title11-vol1-sec100-24.xml

  • Regarding public communications: press releases, paid social media, and blast emails promoting, supporting, attacking or opposing federal candidates could all constitute federal election activities.
  • Obviously, the CT GOP has hired staff. But it is clear from SEEC filings that they aren’t paying employees from their state account. Unless they are paid in tri-monthly increments, their paychecks are coming from the federal account, meaning they must be raising significant money for their federal account.

This is what Rubio’s CT GOP looks like

Hartford, Ct. – Connecticut Democratic Party spokesman Leigh Appleby released the following statement in response to the House GOP’s unified opposition last night to a bill that would provide in-state tuition to Connecticut students regardless of immigration status. This is just the latest proposal offered by Democrats that would improve quality of life, strengthen our communities, and help make our residents more productive that Republicans have opposed.

“House Republicans showed their true colors last night, taking their cues from their party’s newly endorsed candidate Marco Rubio and turning their backs on some of our most vulnerable neighbors in the face of pressure from the right-wing base of their party. Leveling the playing field for undocumented students not only increases upward mobility for those students and makes our communities fairer and safer, but it saves money and helps our economy in the long run. Yet every single House Republican voted against it.
“They always say they want to put ‘people over politics.’ Instead, House GOP members are putting politics first and caving to their party’s right-wing base. Yet again, this is shortsighted, ineffective governance from the Republican Party.”

Background

Ironically, this opposition took place on the very day that  over 4 million immigrants should have been able to apply for temporary relief from deportation through DAPA, which was part of President Obama’s plan to keep immigrant families together. Instead, it was blocked by – you guessed it – the Republican Party.

The Connecticut Mirror reports the following quotes from GOP legislators:

“You’re making it easier for someone to come and take the spot of our constituents. I quite frankly think that’s wrong,” said Rep. Christopher Davis, R-Ellington.

“What this bill is doing is inviting individuals to move into our state,” said Rep. Vincent J. Candelora, R-North Branford. “They are going to compete [for a seat in college] with our children that have been here all their lives.”

“It seems to me that in order for them to make up that shortfall, the number one goal would be to get full-paying students as opposed to increasing the number of discounted [price] students,” said Rep. Whit Betts, R-Bristol.

“There is not going to be enough money,” Sen. Rob J. Kane, R-Watertown. “Someone is going to get bumped… I think what we are doing is hurting Connecticut residents.”

Sen. Michael McLachlan, R-Danbury, said he also believed extending aid to undocumented immigrants conflicts with federal law.

“I am confused why the Connecticut General Assembly is doing this when the federal law clearly says we can’t,” said McLachlan. “This flies in the face of federal law.”

But Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen has testified that legislators could allow financial assistance by changing state law.

“Although federal law permits states to offer undocumented students certain forms of state-funded financial assistance, to do so states must first enact state laws authorizing students to seek and receive financial aid,” said Jepsen, who supports such a change in law.

CT Dems statement on Labriola’s endorsement of Rubio

Hartford, Ct. – Connecticut Democratic Party spokesman Leigh Appleby released the following statement in response to Connecticut GOP Chairman Jerry Labriola’s endorsement of Marco Rubio.

“Jerry Labriola’s endorsement of Marco Rubio tells you all you need to know about Connecticut’s Republican party. By being the first state party to line up behind Rubio, the Connecticut GOP is sending a clear message that they agree with Marco Rubio that immigration reform isn’t a priority, that the country was better off with George W. Bush’s Iraq war, and that it’s okay to discriminate against the LGBTQ community. Backwards policies like these prove that no matter how many times Rubio claims to be a part of a new Republican generation, he’s just sticking to the old Republican playbook. Marco Rubio is wrong for Connecticut, but Jerry Labriola and his Republican Party are intent on taking us backwards.”

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