Lamont gives himself $1 million, triggering more public financing for Malloy

Ned Lamont’s campaign for governor notified state officials Friday that he and his wife have donated an additional $1 million to his campaign, triggering supplemental funds to his publicly financed Democrat primary opponent, Dan Malloy.

The money was donated last week, but the campaign failed to notify the State Elections Enforcement Commission within 48 hours, as required by law. Lamont’s campaign issued a statement Friday night disclosing what it called “an inadvertent oversight.”

Malloy’s campaign manager, Dan Kelly, criticized Lamont for the late disclosure.

“Ned Lamont’s campaign tried to bury the fact that it had concealed a $1 million donation – a potential violation of campaign finance law – by releasing the news late in the evening when it hoped no one was paying attention,” Kelly said.

Malloy already has received $2.18 million in public financing: a $1.25 million grant to wage a primary, plus a supplemental grant of $937,500 to match earlier fundraising by Lamont. The report filed Friday will trigger a final supplemental grant of $312,500 for Malloy, giving him total supplemental grants of $1.25 million, the maximum.

Under the law, further spending by Lamont will not trigger additional matching funds for Malloy.

Justine Sessions, the communications director for Lamont, said that the campaign received contributions from the Lamonts and others that triggered additional funds for Malloy, the only candidate for governor to qualify for public financing under the Citizens’ Elections Program.

“Late last week, our campaign received contributions that will trigger the release of the last supplemental grant in the Democratic gubernatorial primary,” Sessions said in an emailed statement. “Due to an inadvertent oversight, the report was not filed within 48 hours of the triggering event.”

The campaign notified the commission of the error Friday.

“When we discovered that error, we immediately contacted the SEEC and worked directly with them to file the report today,” Sessions said.

Lamont’s report was not immediately available online, but Sessions said in a telephone interview that contributions included $1 million from Lamont and his wife. Lamont previously has donated $1.85 million to his campaign.

Malloy was entitled to a basic grant of $1.25 million and matching grants up to another $1.25 million based on Lamont’s fundraising. If Malloy wins the August 10 primary, he will receive $3 million for the general election and matching grants of up to another $3 million, depending on his opponent’s spending.

Lamont has opted out of the voluntary Citizens’ Election Program.

Malloy is the only candidate for governor who has raised the $250,000 in qualifying contributions of no more than $100 each. His running mate, Comptroller Nancy S. Wyman, reported earlier Friday that she has raised the $75,000 in qualifying contributions for the $375,000 in public financing available for a primary for lieutenant governor.

“I am overwhelmed by the support I have received from people across the state since I announced my candidacy for lieutenant governor,” Wyman said. “This has been a grueling and hectic process, and I am thankful for the enthusiasm that has carried us to this very important goal.”

Wyman raised the $75,000 in just five weeks. Her campaign said many of the donations came from donors who had previously contributed to $60,000 to her campaign for re-election as comptroller. Those unexpended funds had to be returned and could not be applied to her new campaign for lieutenant governor.

If her application is approved by the State Elections Enforcement Commission, Wyman will join Malloy as the only candidates for statewide office to qualify for public financing under the Citizens’ Election Program.

The commission must certify that Wyman has raised the threshold amount in contributions of no more than $100.

Lt. Gov. Michael C. Fedele is the only Republican in a three-way GOP primary for governor seeking public financing.