In the Matter of a Complaint by: Norris
Connecticut General Statutes §9-621(a) provides, "[N]o candidate or committee shall make or incur any expenditure . . . for any written, typed or other printed communication, or any web-based, written communication" that does not include the "paid for by" and "approved by" information. John Norris filed a complaint, alleging that H. William Davis Jr., the first selectman of Southbury, sent an e-mail to municipal workers, soliciting contributions to his re-election campaign, and failed to include an attribution to identify who paid for and approved the e-mail, in violation of Connecticut General Statutes §9-621(a). The State Elections Enforcement Commission found that H. William Davis Jr. was a candidate for re-election to first selectman. On Aug. 14, 2011, a campaign e-mail about a fundraiser was sent from Davis' personal computer to the municipal treasurer and Davis' assistant. Both were municipal employees. The e-mail clearly stated in the subject line, "Davis 2011 Fund raising." Generally, the State Elections Enforcement Commission does not treat elected officials, such as first selectmen, as "municipal employees," for purposes of C.G.S. §9-622(12). The statute provides that individuals who commit illegal campaign finance practices include "[a]ny municipal employee who solicits a contribution on behalf of, or for the benefit of, any candidate for state, district or municipal office, any political committee or any political part, from (A) an individual under the supervision of such employee, or (B) the spouse or a dependent child of such individual." The commission found that Davis was not a "municipal employee" as a result of being elected first selectman, and that he did not violate C.G.S. §9-622(12). The State Elections Enforcement Commission found that the e-mail invitation should have included an attribution, pursuant to C.G.S. §9-621(a). "[T]he e-mail," wrote the State Elections Enforcement Commission, "was clearly identified as being sent from the Respondent." There was no history of prior violations and no evidence of intent to deceive. The State Elections Enforcement Commission elected not to take any action.