A Connecticut State Elections Enforcement Commission investigation found the treasurer of the local activist group Citizens for Responsible Government (CRG) violated several campaign finance laws but dismissed the case when its treasurer, June Logie, failed to sign an agreement and pay a $200 fine.

According to its final report, the commission found that Logie violated state statutes by failing to adequately report expenditures, by not collecting required donor information and by failing to file timely campaign finance disclosure statements.

Logie’s group calls itself the oldest PAC in the state on its website EastonEye.org, and for years has injected itself in local issues by mailing political and education-related pamphlets to all Easton residents. In 2021, the group made critical race theory a flashpoint in town and voiced opposition to school diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.

The Citizens for Responsible Government “About” page lists June Logie as CRG treasurer and describes itself as “the oldest PAC in CT.”— Website accessed Feb. 24, 2023.

Robert Natt, an Easton resident, suspected the group wasn’t following state election laws when it sent a mailer and a text message to Easton residents prior to the November 2021 municipal election that eventually resulted in incumbent Democratic First Selectman David Bindelglass’s reelection. The text message read “Please Save Small Town Easton with Your Republican Votes.”

Natt filed a complaint in November 2021 asking the commission to investigate CRG’s political mailers, its use of a GoFundMe page to collect donations, and its filing of financial disclosure statements. The case remained before the commission for almost a year until it reported in November 2022 that the results of its investigation found several of the claims made in Natt’s complaint to be valid.

At its Nov. 2, 2022 meeting the SEEC reported that Logie had agreed to sign a consent order to comply with campaign finance laws and pay a $200 fine for her violations. The commission gave her 10 days to do both according to the Nov. 2 meeting.

She did neither.

Last week the SEEC’s final report reaffirmed the findings of its investigation presented at the Nov. 2 meeting.

According to the report, “The commission staff investigated the allegations in Natt’s complaint and determined that contributions CRG received did not include sufficient information required by law. Specifically, CRG received contributions via GoFundMe. The contributions, which were returned by GoFundMe to the original contributors and never deposited into the committee’s bank account, lacked sufficient information to satisfy the requirements of General Statutes § 9-608.

“In addition,” the report states, “the investigation determined expenditures totaling $2,365.52 that were made by the committee and reported on the July 10 campaign finance disclosure report for the period of April 1 through June 30, 2021 failed to include adequate reporting regarding expenditures that were made by the [CRG], including the name of the service provider, address of the service provider, expenditure code and description of the service provided.”

Logie also did not file a campaign finance disclosure statement seven days before the municipal election on Nov. 2, 2021, as required by state law, according to the commission.

Although the final report reaffirmed the Nov. 2 findings, the SEEC voted to dismiss the complaint without prejudice, not for a lack of statute violations but because the commission had not fully resolved the case in one year by the Nov. 12, 2022 deadline, per the statutory requirement.

“Respondent Logie to date has not honored her agreement by submitting the signed consent order to the commission along with the payment of a $200 civil penalty. Because this matter had a resolved by date of Nov. 12, 2022, it has therefore now timed-out pursuant to General Statutes§ 9-7b (a),” the commission’s final ruling states.

Natt criticized the commission for its apparent inability to conduct a timely investigation, and he questioned the SEEC’s commitment to both enforcing the state’s election laws and to following through on its own decisions and findings.

“This is a commentary on the SEEC’s incompetence to handle the complaint in the one year time limit,” said Natt. “The issues in the complaint were valid. They dismissed the case because they did not want to go through the laborious process of holding hearings after Logie failed to sign the consent decree.”

Logie declined the Easton Courier’s request for comment.

Joshua Foley, a staff attorney with the commission, said very rarely does a respondent who has been found to have violated state election laws fail to pay a fine and sign a consent order. 

“A respondent refusing to sign a settlement agreement is unprecedented,” Foley said. “The people involved struggle to ever recall it happening.”

The case highlights a change in a law that went into effect in 2018 affecting written complaints brought to the commission. Public Act 17- 2 states the commission must dismiss a complaint if it doesn’t issue a decision within one year of receiving it.

“SEEC did not propose this law change and has regularly sought to amend it,” said Foley. “SEEC staff endeavor to resolve all matters as expeditiously as possible, but not all complaints can be resolved within the new time frame.”

The report concluded by stating the dismissal was “subject to the matter being re-opened by future commission action.”

“I will be watching how CRG raises funds to make sure they are in compliance with election laws and whether CRG is late with the mandatory filings,” said Natt. “The commission specifically indicated that the complaint can be reopened.”

The State Elections Enforcement Commission’s final report can be accessed here.

The State Elections Enforcement Commission’s video of its Nov. 2, 2022 meeting can be accessed here.

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