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Bethel GOP chair said he filed complaints against local Democrats DANBURY, Oct 15, 2008 (The News-Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- The chairman of the Republican State Central Committee said Tuesday he filed complaints with elections officials about Web sites with ties to state Rep. Jason Bartlett, D-Bethel, and John McCarthy, a Democrat running for the state Senate. Chris Healy, state GOP chairman, said the Web sites endorse other Democratic candidates, which violates the state's new public financing laws. "You can't cross-promote candidates using Web sites," Healy said. "They have to follow the rules." The GOP chairman said he filed complaints about the sites with the State Elections Enforcement Commission on Friday. Nancy Nicolescu, a spokeswoman for SEEC, said it has yet to receive the complaints. Healy said the Web site www.ctblue2.org, from a political action committee he said is controlled by Bartlett, contains a profile of John Hartwell, a Democrat running for the 26th District state Senate seat. A political action committee (PAC) is a group that raises and contributes money to the campaigns of candidates likely to advance the group's interests, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Bartlett said Tuesday he helped to found the PAC but has no control over it. Matt Petrillo, chairman of the PAC, said he has been at the helm of the organization since its inception two years ago. He said Bartlett was at the group's organizational meeting but hasn't had any influence on the PAC's operations since then. "We don't coordinate with his campaign at all," Petrillo said. He added that he's studied the state's new public finance laws at length and doesn't believe there is anything that precludes the PAC from posting a profile of Hartwell on its Web site. "We haven't campaigned on behalf of any candidate," Petrillo said. "Everything on that Web site is informational." Healy said he also took issue with a Web site operated by John McCarthy, a Democrat running for state Senate in the 32nd District, which covers parts of Southbury, Bridgewater and Roxbury. The site -- www.friendsofjohnmccarthy.com -- contains a link to another Democratic candidate, Nick Creed, who is running for the 66th District House seat. "Rules are rules, and both Rep. Bartlett and Mr. McCarthy should study them before asking voters to chose to make new ones," Healy said. McCarthy said Tuesday he would have to review the complaint before making comments. Healy said the complaints he filed with the SEEC had nothing to do with the complaints filed by Bethel Democrats last week about a campaign flier paid for by the Bethel Republican Town Committee, which urged residents to "vote for anybody but Bartlett." Democrats in Bethel said they also filed a complaint last week about sites developed by Henry Karl, an alternate on the Bethel Republican Town Committee. One of Karl's Web sites -- www.bartlett08.org -- looks like a legitimate source of information about Bartlett's campaign but is critical of his positions and record. Karl also developed a Web site for the town committee, as well as Bartlett's challenger, Republican Melanie O'Brien. When asked if his complaints had anything to do with the complaints made by Democrats last week, Healy said, "No, of course not." Contact Dirk Perrefort at dperrefort@newstimes.com or at (203) 731-3358. To see more of the News-Times or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.newstimes.com. Copyright (c) 2008, The News-Times, Danbury, Conn. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For reprints, email tmsreprints@permissionsgroup.com, call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA. Dirk Perrefort
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