Tom Kelly, who filed the complaint with the State Elections Enforcement Commission that led to a $5,000 fine against Attorney William Beccaro for an assortment of violations stemming from a political action committee that was aligned with Mayor Bill Finch, has asked state elections investigators if their findings merit a criminal investigation.
The SEEC can issue fines as part of its enforcement action. It has no criminal investigatory authority. But it can forward a complaint to state law enforcement officials if elections investigators believe their findings go beyond civil action.
The 16-page SEEC decision involving Beccaro stipulates Upon the Respondents’ compliance with the Order hereinafter stated, the Commission shall not initiate any further proceedings pertaining to this matter.
Commission action, however, cannot bind a law-enforcement agency from conducting its own independent probe. Kelly, a supporter of Mary-Jane Foster, Finch’s 2011 Democratic primary opponent, filed the complaint last August. Beccaro had earned hundreds of thousands of dollars as a city legal consultant while fronting the PAC. His consulting agreement with the city ended two months ago, as city officials likely anticipated what was coming. State law weighs heavily against persons operating political action committees, not necessarily against those aligned. If a politician is associated with a state PAC it is much better to receive than to give, as was the case with the mayor, although Finch’s 2007 mayoral candidate committee dumped $46,000 into Beccaro’s PAC that was rerouted to finance Finch’s political activities. Elections investigators, while citing many Beccaro irregularities, did not fine the mayor.
Kelly sent this letter today to SEEC investigative officials:
Thank you for your quick and diligent efforts on the above captioned matter. As the complainant I understand the statutory limitations of the SEEC. However, I understand that the Commission has the authority to forward any complaints that may be criminal in nature to the State Attorney’s Office for further review.
If your office is of the opinion that it doesn’t merit a referral, I was wondering if you could under FOI give me the blood and guts of your investigation with respect to the 78% of expenditures disallowed. These are serious matters that border on the conversion of campaign funds by an elected official and his consigliere that have IRS implications. Notwithstanding questionable practices of forgery and elder abuse by Bill Beccaro and a quid pro quo of his now former position with the City of Bridgeport. Any comments would be greatly appreciated with the full understanding and respect of your positions.