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Winch May Have To Pay Back State Campaign Funds

She says she donated public campaign money to charity

By Jeff Cohen

September 22, 2010

Hartford’s City Council President rJo Winch may have to pay $1,000 back to the state. As WNPR’s Jeff Cohen reports, it appears Winch violated state campaign finance laws when she donated leftover public funds to charity.

Winch became the city council’s president last month. But a month before that, she ran unsuccessfully in a Democratic primary for a state legislative seat. In the process, Winch got roughly $25,000 from the state’s public campaign finance program.

When the primary was over, Winch had money to spare. So she gave $1,000 to city charities.

“I gave some to the NAACP, some to the South End Women, some to another youth program over at the Citadel. You know, it’s what I do. I try to help when I can.”

But state law is clear:

“The idea is that this is a specific public grant meant for running for office.”

That’s Beth Rotman, head of the state’s Citizens Election Program. She says that, generally speaking, donations to charity over $100 are not permitted.

“If the funds are not used to run for office, then they need to be returned to the Citizen s Election Fund.”

Rotman says all campaign reports are subject to audits, and that any candidates found to have spent public money the wrong way will have to pay it back.

Reprinted with permission of Jeff Cohen, author of the blog Capital Region Report. To view other stories on this topic, search Capital Region Report at http://capitalregionreport.wordpress.com/.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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