AUBURN, Mass. – Republican candidate Steve Simonian is being accused of violating campaign finance laws by the Massachusetts Democratic Party in a complaint filed less than five days before he faces Millbury Democrat Michael Moore in the 2nd Worcester District state senate election.
On Friday, the Massachusetts Democratic Party asked the Massachusetts Office of Political and Campaign Finance (OCPF) to investigate possible campaign finance law violations by Simonian. John Walsh, chair of the state’s Democratic Party, said in the letter to OCPF that the Simonian campaign’s press contact and consulting firm were not listed on campaign finance documents.
In a phone interview, Simonian, an Auburn Selectman, said he did not know about this possible investigation.
“I’m not going to comment,” he said. “I don’t know anything about this.”
In Walsh’s letter to OCPF, he wrote that “the Simonian campaign employs the services of a consulting firm called Shamrock Development, Inc. Sean Carpenter is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the firm, which describes itself on its website as ‘a full scale development, consulting, asset and property management firm.’
“The website of Shamrock Development notes that Mr. Carpenter has ‘successfully managed several local political campaigns,’ ” the letter continued. “In fact, Mr. Carpenter’s name appears on official Simonian campaign documents as a contact for the press.
“However, neither Shamrock Development, nor Mr. Carpenter appear either as an expenditure or an in-kind contribution on Simonian’s reports to OCPF. Pursuant to 970 CMR 2.07, as well as Massachusetts General Law, in-kind contributions, including goods and services, are strictly regulated. Disclosure of in-kind contributions follows the same requirements as donations. Corporations are also strictly prohibited from making direct or in-kind contributions to any candidate.
“We urge OCPF to open an immediate investigation into these possible violations by Republican candidate Steve Simonian,” Walsh concluded.
In a phone interview, Carpenter said that he has "never collected a dime from Steve Simonian."
"Steve is a friend of mine, and I'm helping him out as a volunteer," Carpenter said. "They clearly don't want to talk about the issues of the campaign."
Moore, who has served the 2nd Worcester District for four years, said that he'll leave it to the judgment of OCPF to determine if a violation has occurred.
"I'm a firm believer in campaign finance laws in order to protect the integrity of the electoral process," Moore said in a statement. "The laws and regulations we have in place are essential to preventing undue influence and persuasion by campaign donors on a candidate, and must be honored at all times."