Leader Of Hartford Democrats Files Four Election Complaints
By STEVEN GOODE
February 25, 2010
Sean Arena, chairman of the Democratic town committee, has filed four election complaints against opponents in Tuesday's committee primary, including the man who is seeking his leadership position.
In one complaint to the State Elections Enforcement Commission, Arena alleges that Bruce Rubenstein, an attorney in Hartford seeking the town committee chairmanship, provided free legal services for two members of the challenge slate in the 4th District, which Arena says amounted to unreported corporate donations for that slate. Arena also claims that Rubenstein provided the services to advance his own campaign.
Arena cites a complaint that Rubenstein filed with the commission in January. Arena says the complaint was filed on Rubenstein's law firm's letterhead on behalf of the two challenge candidates.
"We're seeking an opinion on whether he can do that," Arena said Thursday.
Rubenstein countered that he filed his complaint — which included allegations that the two candidates and another person had been unjustly prohibited from soliciting petition signatures in an elderly housing project — on behalf of individuals, not a political slate.
"I made free legal services for individuals who had been denied their civil rights," Rubenstein said Thursday.
Arena also filed two complaints against the 4th District slate for allowing two people who live outside the city to solicit petition signatures.
Ted Bromley, an attorney for the secretary of the state's office, testified earlier this week in a lawsuit involving the primary that state statutes allow any state resident registered with a political party to gather petitions for primaries, regardless of where they live.
Arena's final complaint alleges that the 4th District slate has not reported campaign expenditures related to a flier promoting its candidates.
Six complaints have been filed in connection with the primary. The secretary of the state's office is expected to monitor the election.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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