NORTHBOROUGH, Mass. — Democratic state representative candidate Danielle Gregoire said in a response to accusations from a conservative fiscal watchdog group that she has paid all state fines for missing campaign finance deadlines.
According to the Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF), Gregoire missed the deadline for filing her campaign finance reports three times. She was one day late in January 2011, eight days late in July 2011 and one day late in January 2012. The office charges a $25 fine for each day a candidate is late, resulting in a $250 total for Gregoire.
The OCPF sent Gregoire a total of 15 letters — five notices for each missed deadline — notifying her of the outstanding debt, according to OCPF spokesperson Jason Tait.
In addition, the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance sent Gregoire a letter on Oct. 11 requesting that she pay the debt. "We strongly believe that candidates running for public office and former elected officials should repay debts owed to the state they are striving to serve," the letter read.
The Alliance bills itself on its website as an "independent, non-partisan, non-profit" organization, but its leadership is composed of three men who are longtime Republican activists and office-holders: Richard Green, Paul D. Craney and Jim Rappaport. Rappaport is the former state Republican Party chairman and Craney is the former executive director of the District of Columbia Republican Committee.
Gregoire said that she was not made aware of the debt until quite recently, and added that she immediately sought to resolve it.
"I asked them if I could pay it over the phone," Gregoire said. When she could not, she added, she mailed the payment on Friday. Tait said that the OCPF had not received the payment as of Tuesday afternoon.
Though she admitted to paying the debt with campaign committee funds — which the OCPF does not allow — Gregoire said that she would reimburse the campaign with her own money.
Gregoire, a former state representative who held the 4th Middlesex District seat from 2008–2010, is challenging its current occupant, Republican Steven Levy. The district encompasses parts of Marlborough, Westborough and Northborough.