CSAO: Former State Senator Charged with Campaign Finance Fraud

Former State Senator Charged with Campaign Finance Fraud

Former Bridgeport State Senator Ernest E. Newton II was arrested today and charged with falsely obtaining thousands of dollars in public funds to finance his unsuccessful state Senate campaign last year.

Newton, age 56, of 190 Read St., Bridgeport, was arrested on a warrant charging him with one count of Larceny in the First Degree, five counts of Illegal campaign practices and one count of Tampering with a Witness.

The arrest is the result of a joint investigation conducted by the State Elections Enforcement Commission in the Office of Governmental Accountability and the Statewide Prosecution Bureau in the Office of the Chief State's Attorney.

According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Newton submitted false documentation to obtain $80,550 from the state's Citizens Election Program to support his ultimately unsuccessful 2012 campaign for the state Senate in the 23rd District in Bridgeport.

According to the warrant, Newton was $500 short of the $15,000 he needed to raise in private contributions to qualify for the Citizens Election Program grant. Newton had five campaign workers sign cards stating they had contributed to the campaign when in fact they had not, the warrant states.

Upon receipt of the falsified information the SEEC released $80,550 in grant money to the Newton campaign on July 23, 2012, the warrant states. When one of the five individuals who signed contribution cards was contacted by SEEC investigators, Newton told her not to talk to them.

The charges are merely accusations and Newton is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Newton was arrested by Inspectors from the Office of the Chief State's Attorney at the Connecticut State Police Troop I barracks in Bethany. He was released on a written promise to appear and will be arraigned in Hartford Superior Court, G.A. No. 14, on January 17, 2013.

Larceny in the First Degree carries a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison; Tampering with a Witness is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and each of the campaign finance counts carries a maximum term of 5 years.

Content Last Modified on 1/4/2013 4:49:04 PM