State Representative’s sloppy records cited in disposition agreement

Finn may not be repaid $2,500 owed to him from his committee

Rep. Michael Finn, (D) West Springfield, Mass. [File Photo: SHNS/Jan. 19, 2017]

BOSTON (STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE) – A state representative from West Springfield is out $2,500 and faces enhanced reporting requirements after state campaign finance regulators found he made prohibited cash donations to his committee and failed to disclose more than $8,000 in contributions and nearly $8,000 in expenditures.

Following a review of nearly three years of reports dating back to January 2014, the Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) said Thursday that Rep. Michael Finn, a Democrat, personally contributed $3,800 in cash to his committee, even though cash contributions are limited to $50 per year per individual. A disposition agreement in Finn’s case concluded that Finn made a $2,500 cash deposit in September 2015 and a $1,300 cash deposit in March 2016.

Under his agreement with OCPF, Finn may not be repaid $2,500 owed to him from his committee “in lieu of making a payment to the Commonwealth.”

Finn is serving his fourth term after winning an uncontested election on Nov. 8. After handily beating unenrolled candidate Lincoln Blackie in 2012, Finn in 2014 beat Republican Nathan Bech with 6,113 votes to Bech’s 4,634. In 2010, Finn edged Republican Gregory Neffinger to win his seat.

Regulators also said debit cards may not be used to withdraw cash from a campaign account, but they determined Finn’s committee made 11 ATM withdrawals totaling $1,048 and made out a check payable to Finn for $600. State law requires committee expenditures of over $50 to be made by check or credit card.

“Finn was able to verify that $1,055 of those expenditures were for campaign activity. However, the candidate was not able to produce receipts or records for $593, a total that OCPF, by regulation, determined was for personal use,” OCPF officials wrote in their announcement. State law prohibits spending campaign funds “for the candidate’s or any other person’s personal use” and expenditures not backed up by documentation are presumed for personal use.

Finn cooperated with the review, OCPF said, and the enhanced reporting that’s part of the agreement requires his committee “to e-file on the regular schedule for legislative candidates, as well as file four extra paper reports through July of 2018.” The committee will also provide OCPF with copies of its bank statements, expenditure checks, deposit tickets and all contributor checks received and deposited with each report, according to the agency.

In his latest filing with OCPF, Finn lists a total campaign account balance of just over $2,300.