Complaint of Scialabba
General Statutes §9-601b(b)(5) defines "expenditure" to exclude: "The use of real or personal property, and the cost of invitations, food or beverages, voluntarily provided by an individual to a candidate . . . for candidate or party-related activities at the individual's residence, to the extent that the cumulative value of the invitations, food or beverages . . . does not exceed two hundred dollars with respect to any single election." The complainant, Arthur Scialabba, alleged that the respondent, Nora King, issued an e-mail invitation for a fundraiser for Andy Garfunkel, a mayoral candidate in Norwalk, that did not include the "paid for by" information, in violation of C.G.S. §9-621(a). Allegedly, King admitted that she spent more than $200 on the fundraiser. Although the e-mail did not include information about who paid for and approved the e-mail, a reasonable observer would conclude that King issued the e-mail invitation. Because King allegedly spent more than $200, King did not qualify for the "house party" exception in C.G.S. §9-601b(b)(5), which provides a safe harbor, provided that expenditures are less than $200. Although the State Elections Enforcement Commission found that the e-mail invitation should have included the "paid for by" information, it did not elect to take any further action, because the identity of the individual who sent the e-mail was clear to a reasonable observer, there was no prior history of violations, and there was no evidence of intent to deceive or mislead.