Audit finds Zupkus’ committee made impermissible expenditures in 2018

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By Elio Gugliotti, Editor

Lezlye Zupkus

PROSPECT — A random audit of spending by state Rep. Lezlye Zupkus’ campaign committee in 2018 showed the committee made payments to a family member, which isn’t allowed under the Citizens’ Election Program.

The State Elections Enforcement Commission in July ordered Zupkus, a Prospect resident, to repay $427 that was paid by her committee to her husband’s nephew for work on her campaign in 2018. The SEEC did not fine her.

Zupkus, who is in her fourth term representing the 89th House District, said it was an honest mistake made by her campaign treasurer. She said her campaign hired a group of high school students to hand out campaign literature, and her husband’s nephew was among them.

“It was just an oversight,” she said.

The committee’s treasurer, Paul Vallillo, was fined $200, according to a consent order.

Joshua Foley, a spokesman for the SEEC, said Zupkus has paid back the $427 and Vallillo has paid the fine.

The Citizens’ Election Program is a voluntary program that provides public financing to qualified candidates for General Assembly. Candidates who qualify for funding through the program can’t make payments to immediate family members and their spouse’s family members.

According to the SEEC, Zupkus’ campaign spending was selected for an audit by a random lottery after the 2018 election cycle. Her campaign received $28,150 from the Citizens’ Election Program. The committee returned $3,460 after the election.

Zupkus, a Republican, is running for reelection in the 89th House District, which represents Prospect, Bethany and part of Cheshire. She is facing a challenge from Democrat Edward J. Maher III of Bethany.

Zupkus has already qualified for funding through the Citizens’ Election Program this year. General election grant amounts are up to $30,575 for state representative candidates.