Following the money in Fattman campaign finance fight

A chart contained in the regulations for the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance would appear to play a central role in the ongoing dispute the office is having with Sen. Ryan Fattman and his wife Stephanie, the register of probate in Worcester County.

 The chart spells out annual campaign contribution limits, and to find out what’s allowed under the law you match up who is giving the money on the y axis with who is receiving the money on the x axis.

 The chart indicates a candidate’s campaign committee can only give $100 a year to another candidate’s campaign committee, but can donate an unlimited amount of money to a town party committee. The chart indicates a town party committee can donate $1,000 a year in cash to a candidate’s campaign committee, but a footnote clarifies that there is no limit on in-kind contributions.

 According to campaign finance records, Sen. Fattman’s campaign committee donated $25,000 to the Sutton Republican Town Committee on August 17, 2020. The town committee, in turn, made some $32,825 in donations to Stephanie Fattman’s campaign committee for what is listed as “canvassing help” and “database and phone calls.” Stephanie Fattman was facing a campaign challenge from a veteran employee of her office. (The town committee also donated $2,687 to Stephanie Fattman’s campaign prior to Ryan Fattman’s donation.)

 The Fattmans believe all of the contributions complied with the law, but Michael Sullivan, the director of the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, doesn’t appear to like what he sees. Sullivan and Ryan Fattman are engaged in a legal fight over what should be made public in their dispute, but right now the crux of that fight is blacked out in court papers as the two sides battle over whether it should be made public or not.

 But judging from what information is available, it would appear Sullivan believes the Fattmans circumvented the $100 limit on donations from one campaign committee to another by using the Sutton Republican Town Committee as an intermediary. 

 The Fattmans would appear to have some influence with the Sutton Town Committee. In a statement of organization filed with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance on March 7, 2020, Ryan Fattman is listed as the town committee’s secretary and Anthony Fattman, Ryan’s brother, according to social media posts, is listed as the chair. Of the 12 members of the committee identified in a filing with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, five are Fattmans, including Ryan, his wife Stephanie, his brother Anthony, and his parents, Ann and Don.




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