Fedele awarded $2.18 million in public financing

The State Elections Enforcement Commission approved public financing of nearly $2.2 million today for the gubernatorial campaign of Republican Michael C. Fedele.

Fedele was given a grant of $1.25 million for the primary, plus a supplemental award of $937,500, triggered by the spending of an opponent, Tom Foley.

The money can be used for Fedele and his running mate, Mark Boughton. Under commission rules, they were allowed to join their campaigns.

“Qualifying for the clean elections program means our campaign will now have the resources to compete with our wealthy self-funding opponents in the primary and against whoever emerges as the Democrat standard-bearer in August,” Fedele said. “We look forward to taking our message of fiscal conservatism and accountable and transparent government to the electorate.”

Fedele is competing for the GOP nomination in the Aug. 10 primary with Foley and Oz Griebel.

Fedele is the second gubernatorial candidate to qualify: His fellow Stamford resident, Democrat Dan Malloy, already has received the maximum of $2.5 million, allowing him to begin a substantial television advertising campaign.

Fedele expects to be on the air this weekend.

To qualify for a grant, a gubernatorial candidate must raise $250,000 in donations of no more than $100. Fedele and Boughton were allowed to pool their qualifying donations, prompting an objection from the Foley campaign.

Charles R. Spies, the counsel for the Foley campaign, wrote to the commission yesterday, saying that the panel had misread the law in allowing Fedele and Boughton and join their campaigns.

Only the endorsed candidates for governor and lieutenant governor can run a joint campaign, he wrote. Boughton won the endorsement of the GOP convention, while Foley won the endorsement for governor.

To formally object to an advisory opinion allowing Fedele and Boughton to join, the Foley campaign needed to seek a declaratory ruling, which would have triggered a public comment process. They never filed, said commission staff.

The Foley campaign had no immediate comment.

Foley, Griebel and Ned Lamont, a Democrat, all have opted out of the voluntary public financing program, the Citizens’ Election Program. Participants typically refer to as the Clean Elections Program.

“The people of Connecticut have stated repeatedly they want special interest influence out of politics,” Fedele said. “The Clean Elections Program provides a level playing field and ensures that campaigns in Connecticut can be waged with grassroots support, not just with a personal checkbook or a few friends in high places.”

Non-participating candidates can make unlimited personal donations and accept a maximum of $3,500 from other donors. Lobbyists, state contractors and their spouses are barred from making contributions for state office.