Hampden Co. Sheriff campaign committee lost money on mutual funds

Mutual funds involve "significantly more risk of loss of principal than savings acounts."

BOSTON (STATE HOUSE) – Hampden County Sheriff Michael Ashe’s campaign committee invested campaign funds in a mutual fund and lost nearly $4,000 last year, coming into conflict with campaign finance law, according to an independent state agency.

The state Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) says the law allows political committees to invest campaign funds in a savings account or money market fund.

“The statute is intended to ensure that campaign funds are subject to conservative management, to avoid the loss of principal,” the agency director, Michael Sullivan, wrote in a February letter to Ashe.

Mutual funds involve “significantly more risk of loss of principal than savings accounts, money market investments, or limited options reflected in the regulation,” he added.

James Tremble, Ashe’s campaign treasurer, said the committee had a money market fund that was about to expire and he was unaware that he couldn’t invest the money into a mutual fund.

“It was my mistake and my mistake entirely,” Tremble told the News Service.

According to OCPF, the committee withdrew $58,193 in June 2014 and invested that amount into a mutual fund. The mutual fund shares were then sold in January 2015 for $54,722, resulting to a loss of $3,722.

Sullivan wrote that the matter is considered closed, since Ashe’s committee fully cooperated with OCPF’s review and the committee lost money on its investment.

“Finally, we recognize that the office has not addressed the concept of political committees investing in mutual funds in previous public resolution letters,” Sullivan wrote. “We expect that this letter will serve to increase awareness and compliance among other committees.”

Copyright 2015 State House News Service

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