On Friday the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) levied a fine against Mark Miller, the Treasurer of the 2017 campaign of BET candidate Tony Turner.
Turner was until recently the chair of Democratic Town Committee. He has withdrawn his candidacy for both BET and DTC chair.
The SEEC determined that Mr. Miller willfully violated campaign laws when $76,000 was spent to benefit the full slate of Democratic BET candidates, not just Turner. Miller was fined $15,000 for the violations, saying he should have sought reimbursement from the other candidates who benefited from the spending, and said Miller had insufficiently itemizing campaign expenses.
Republican Ed Dadakis provided the documentation to the SEEC.
On his Friday radio show Republican First Selectman was asked by Jim Campbell if the incident represented a technical violation or was something more serious. Tesei said Mr. Turner had consulted with the SEEC on requirements and rules for individual campaign committees, and that money he spent was unheard of for a Greenwich local campaign.
“The spending benefited other candidates on the ballot and one of them was Sandy Litvack, my opponent. People don’t take the time to learn the rules or abide them. That speaks to how they will govern and run the Town,” Tesei said, adding, “It wasn’t like he was operating without advice and counsel from the enforcement agency. The money he spent was unheard of for a Greenwich local campaign.”
“All six members of the BET are the Town’s fiduciaries. If they’re loose and careless with their campaign, how does that speak to how they will run the affairs of the Town,” Tesei continued. “Particularly Ms. Oberlander and Mr. Litvack need to answer for this. They are asking to be put in charge of the executive board of Greenwich.”
Reached by email, Mr. Litvack responded immediately on Friday, saying, “Along with everyone else this morning I learned of the SEEC fine against Tony Turner’s 2017 campaign Treasurer. It is beyond disappointing that some are using this incident to make sweeping, baseless accusations to further their interests in this year’s municipal elections.”
Litvack said neither the SEEC nor anyone else, except for Peter Tesei on the radio Friday morning, has asserted or suggested that his 2017 campaign violated any campaign finance law.
“His comments suggesting otherwise are are flat out wrong. There were NO campaign violations by my campaign and none has been charged,” Litvack said.
“If Mr. Tesei really thought something were amiss in that campaign–and he were not being just politically expedient–he would have raised the matter with me and learned the facts. But, he did not do so, which speaks volumes about the substance and motive of the comments.
This kind of personal attack coming from the man who refused to investigate the spying on my campaign which took place in Town Hall under his aegis, comes with particular ill grace.”
– Sandy Litvack Democratic Selectman and candidate for a second term
Mr. Litvack said he certainly cares about the rules and has obeyed them.
“Since neither Mr. Turner nor his campaign Treasurer has anything to do with my and Jill Oberlander’s campaign, it is time to return to the merits of the election and our effort to bring leadership and good governance back to Greenwich,” he said.
BET chair, Democrat Jill Oberlander, who is campaigning for First Selectman along with Mr. Litvack who seeks a second term as Selectman, declined to comment.
Regarding a Republican complaint against Indivisible Greenwich, but SEEC has cleared the group.