The Bristol Blog features news and information about Bristol, Connecticut.
June 28, 2010
Brickley blasts Larson fundraising
Press release from Republican congressional candidate Ann Brickley:
Brickley Calls for Ban On Leadership PACs
Republican candidate for CT First Congressional District cites Rep. Larson’s questionable leadership PAC expenditures as example of flaws in system.
WETHERSFIELD, CT (June 24, 2010) – Ann Brickley, the Republican-endorsed candidate for the First Congressional District, has called for a ban on Political Action Committees formed by leaders of Congress due to the lack of accountability and their use as huge slush funds.
Brickley cites Democratic House Caucus Chairman John Larson's (CT-1st) “Synergy PAC,” which recently hosted one of the most lavish events of the season at the Mohegan Sun Casino, as an example of the types of questionable activities for which these PACs are used. In the invitation to the Mohegan Sun event, donors were invited to a "New England Summer Golf, Spa and Concert Retreat".They could "learn to gamble from the pros," enjoy the music of James Taylor and Carole King and get a "legislative update" from Larson.The cost was $5,000 per person.
While FEC regulations prohibit Larson’s Synergy PAC from "directly" supporting his congressional campaign, it can provide "indirect" support, i.e. travel, political consulting fees, polling, etc.
“It appears that the regulations are worded so that congressional leaders can do just about anything without violating the law.” Brickley said. “The allowable use of Leadership PAC’s is to help fund other candidates’ campaigns.In effect, Larson is using the Synergy PAC to secure the support of his colleagues to maintain his leadership position.I feel this practice should be illegal but it is permitted,” she continued.
In the 2008 election, Larson's Synergy PAC raised over half million dollars, and distributed 55% of the funds collected to other campaigns.Synergy also reported payments to American Express ($44,000), Mohegan Sun ($41,200), Waverly Group ($32,400), Walt Disney World ($25,400), Disney Resort Destinations ($16,099) and Foxwoods Resort Casino ($13,200).For the 2010 election cycle, less than 50 percent of the expenditures have been spent on other candidate campaigns.
Brickley believes that Larson should explain how these items legally qualify as indirect support for his campaign.If he cannot provide such an explanation then these expenditures could represent a violation of existing laws in regards to leadership PACs.
“Congressman Larson's use of his Synergy PAC illustrates my point that we should get rid of these incumbent political slush funds,” Brickley said. “They are another example of Congress regulating what everybody else can do, but exempting themselves from the rules.”
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