The Massachusetts Republican Party has settled a 2 ½-year-old case involving allegations that Senator Ryan Fattman illegally funneled $137,000 from his campaign to his wife’s campaign for register of probate in Worcester County. The state party agreed to pay $15,000 to the Office of Campaign and Political Finance to resolve the case without admitting any wrongdoing. The settlement was signed by the chair of the Massachusetts Republican Party, Amy Carnevale, and the director of the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, William Campbell. The Fattmans’ cases are still pending, and it remains uncertain whether they will settle.
Carnevale stated that she wanted to put the lawsuits that originated during her predecessor’s chairmanship behind the party and focus on the future. Ryan Fattman has maintained his innocence and attempted to block the Campaign and Political Finance Office from referring the matter to the attorney general’s office. He has also established a legal defense fund that has raised nearly $220,000. Fattman’s supporters claim that the case is a witch hunt against the Republican power couple and suggest that Democrats have engaged in similar behavior.
Campaign finance documents show that Fattman’s campaign made donations to the Massachusetts Republican Party and the Sutton Republican Town Committee, which then made donations of similar amounts to Stephanie Fattman’s campaign. While Fattman’s donations were legal, they could be construed as illegal if they were made with the intention of circumventing the $100 limit on campaign-to-campaign donations. The settlement allows the Massachusetts Republican Party to move forward and focus on future endeavors.