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State investigating elections complaint against Walker

August 09,2017 02:32

The state Elections Enforcement Commission has launched a formal investigation into a complaint alleging that Republican Dave Walker, the former U.S. comptroller general, failed to register as a candidate for governor while he was actively campaigning ...and more »



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David M. Walker
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Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst
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State investigating elections complaint against Walker
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The state Elections Enforcement Commission has launched a formal investigation into a complaint alleging that Republican Dave Walker, the former U.S. comptroller general, failed to register as a candidate for governor while he was actively campaigning for the post.
The month-old complaint was filed by the campaign manager of GOP rival Tim Herbst, who has accused Walker of circumventing fundraising and spending limits for candidates through the use of an exploratory committee.
A commission spokesman said the referral of the complaint for investigation was not based on the merits of the case, but on the agency’s jurisdiction over state election laws.
Walker, a Bridgeport resident and 2014 lieutenant governor candidate, characterized the complaint as a frivolous “waste” of government time and resources.
“His complaint has no merit,” Walker said Tuesday. “We’re dealing with it, and I’m confident that we’ll prevail when the commission does make a decision. Tim has the dubious distinction of being the first and only Republican to file a formal complaint against a fellow statewide Republican candidate.”
Fundraising limits
Herbst, the first selectman of Trumbull, stood by the allegations and said that only after the complaint was filed did Walker register as a candidate.
“I think it goes without saying that we would not have brought it to the attention of (the commission) unless we felt there was probable cause to initiate an investigation,” Herbst said. “My campaign manager, Tom Daly, felt very strongly that there were potential violations.”
Herbst and Walker are each trying to raise $250,000 in increments of $100 or less from individual contributors to try to qualify for public campaign financing under Connecticut’s clean-elections program. Each initially set up exploratory committees to gauge support for their political brand, allowing them to raise up to $375 from individual donors without spending limitations.
They can apply $100 of each of those $375 donations toward the $250,000 threshold. But if Walker is found to have violated the law for exploratory committees, some of his contributions could be disqualified.
Super PAC issue
The legal wrangling between the increasingly bitter rivals may not end there, however. A video obtained by Hearst Connecticut Media shows Walker speaking to the Republican Town Committee in Greenwich in late May, when Walker boasted of a super PAC potentially rendering aid to him in the governor’s race. Herbst said that would violate state election laws prohibiting candidates from coordinating with outside groups.
The segment started out with Walker, who served under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, guaranteeing that he would become eligible for public campaign financing.
“With the people I have on my finance committee, I’ll qualify,” Walker said. “I’m not worried about that. But it’s not just that. They’re committed to raising a $30 (million) to $40 million super PAC to support this Connecticut turnaround concept. I will nationalize this race. I have contacts all over this country. We can turn a blue state red.”
State Elections Enforcement Commission Spokesman Joshua Foley said he could only comment generally about the law.
“Super PACs can’t make contributions to Connecticut candidates, but they can make independent expenditures,” Foley said.
Herbst said Walker is brazenly flouting the law.
“The fact that a candidate would stand up before a (Republican Town Committee) and basically articulate how he intends to circumvent clean-election laws is incredibly troubling,” Herbst said. “We cannot afford to nominate a candidate that is either that politically inept or is committed to being that politically surreptitious.”
Walker said there is no collusion and that Herbst doesn’t have a grasp of state elections law, even though he has a law degree.
“Tim Herbst is demonstrating that he is a bomb thrower with poor judgment,” Walker said. “This guy doesn’t know when to quit.”
Staff Writer Ken Dixon contributed to this report.
http://twitter.com/gettinviggy; nvigdor@hearstmediact.com; 203-625-4436

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