Beth MacGillivray, the Chair of the Greenwich Republican Town Committee (RTC), filed a complaint with the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC), alleging that an organization known as The Voting Moms (TVM) operated an unregistered PAC during the 2023 municipal election in Greenwich.
The complaint alleges the Greenwich Democrat Town Committee (GDTC) together with Greenwich Board of Estimate and Taxation (BET) Candidates Stephen Selbst, Elliot Alcheck, David Weisbrod, Matt DesChamps, Leslie Moriarty and Scott Kalb and Greenwich Representative Town Meeting (RTM) Candidates Stephanie Cowie, Jaysen Medhurst, Steven Rubin, Daniel Quigley and James Waters coordinated and conspired with an unregistered PAC operating under the name of “The Voting Moms” and an LLC called The Local Moms Network, which is not registered as a PAC.
It's further alleged that these organizations and candidates worked together and coordinated and misled voters regarding the funding and promotion of candidates, and also misrepresented the source of their recommendations and funding.
SEEC regulations require two or more individuals who are working together to promote candidates to register as a PAC, something which obviously didn't happen with TVM or The Local Moms Network, which is an LLC.
Ahead of the 2023 election, TVM claims to have “analyzed” all 345 candidates running for the RTM, despite the fact that a number of candidates reported never having spoken to TVM.
Furthermore, considering there were 159 new candidates who did not have a prior voting record, and 46 of those candidates were not affiliated with a political party, the complaint alleges it's unlikely that TVM could have assessed these candidates without coordination.
For example, one candidate, James Waters, created and published a recommended list of candidates called "The Bipartisan Coalition" which he claims he crafted “with extensive, bipartisan input from the community, without input from any political party’s Town Committee.” The document indeed reveals “James Waters” as its “Author” under “properties.”
As it turns out, Waters’ list is identical to the list of RTM candidates recommended by TVM.
"Without coordination, the odds against two lists of 180 candidates being identical out of a pool of 345 candidates are astronomical (lower than one in 10 to the 144th power – roughly the odds of winning powerball every month for 14 months in a row)," says the complaint.
MacGillivray concludes, "Therefore, Mr. Waters coordinated with TVM to promote himself and others in violation of SEEC disclosure regulations."
The complaint also includes copies of multiple emails shared by the Greenwich Democrat Town Committee (GDTC) promoting both TVM's website and newsletter, and also Waters' list.
"Coordination with and promotion by a Town Committee to their e-mail list under their banner has
significant value and the relationship of the parties must be disclosed," says the complaint.
As if that's not enough, the complaint continues to allege that Waters worked together with other RTM candidates, including Stephanie Cowie, Jaysen Medhurst, and Steven Rubin, who all filed SEEC exemptions, as well as Jeremy Kostin, the husband of GDTC member Laura Kostin, in order to create and promote Waters’ list and to promote GDTC BET candidates.
MacGillivray argues that coordination to promote specific candidates requires a PAC and is a clear violation of SEEC regulations.
She also alleged that the GDTC illegally coordinated the purchase of tents and signage for all twelve polling places in Greenwich to support the GDTC / James Waters list of RTM candidates, and that the GDTC coordinated with Waters, Quigley, Cowie and others to spread misinformation about the opposing BET and RTM candidates, and in support for their own preferred candidates.
The complaint finally alleges that this is a pattern of abuse by the GDTC, and calls on the SEEC to fine the GDTC as a "repeat offender."
The "take-over" plan concocted by the allegedly illegal TVM PAC worked, by the way, and the GDTC / James Waters list of RTM candidates did win a majority of seats on the RTM.
The first move for the newly elected RTM involved banning gas-powered leaf blowers for summer months, a radical move decried by many who now realize they were duped into electing an extremist, progressive RTM, not at all the "bi-partisan coalition" they thought they were getting.