Fundraising Challenged in Comptroller Race

     HARTFORD, Conn. (CN) – Connecticut election officials allowed state comptroller candidate Kevin Lembo to raise extra campaign money after the July 15 deadline, Lembo’s opponent claims in Superior Court. Waterbury Mayor Michael Jarjura and Lembo are vying to be the Democratic nominee for state comptroller in the Aug. 10 primary.

     Jarjura wants an order barring Lembo from using the $375,000 in public campaign funds, which Lembo received from the clean elections program last week.
     Jarjura’s lawyers argued in court Monday that Lembo shouldn’t have been able to go back out and raise $6,000 after the July 15 deadline in an effort to meet the $75,000 threshold.
     Lembo and Jarjura both had to meet the $75,000 threshold in order to qualify for the $375,000 in public campaign funds.
     The Connecticut Elections Enforcement Commission said it allowed Lembo to go back out and raise money because of a complaint filed by the Jarjura campaign, alleging it could not transfer more than $11,000 raised in the exploratory committee to the candidate committee.
     The commission told the Lembo campaign that it could raise more money over the weekend in an effort to reach the $75,000 threshold without using the money from the exploratory committee.
     Jarjura has already received his public funds and has used them to launch a negative campaign against Lembo, who has agreed to use only $30,000 of the $375,000 while the case is pending.
     The agreement not to spend most of the $375,000 expires at 1 p.m. Tuesday.
     Testimony in the case went on for more than three hours Monday and will continue until 10 a.m. Tuesday.
     Hartford Superior Court Judge James Graham is expected to make a decision shortly after closing arguments.

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