Shays dips into surplus to help GOP candidates

Christopher Shays, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, answers questions during a News-Times editorial board meeting in Danbury on Tuesday, July 31, 2012. Staff photo by Jason Rearick.

Compliments of Christopher Shays, leftovers are on the menu for Republicans.

After paying back the third and final installment of a $150,000 personal loan he made to his Senate candidacy, which fizzled out in a lop-sided GOP primary won by Linda McMahon back on Aug. 14, Shays finished with a surplus of $32,183, according a recent filing with the Federal Election Commission.

Shays dipped into that surplus to the tune of $17,000 to help members of his party still on the ballot.

The former 21-year congressman gave $2,000 to each of the five Republican House candidates in Connecticut — Steve Obsitnik, Andrew Roraback, John Decker, Paul Formica and Wayne Winsley.

Shays gave $4,000 to the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney, $1,000 to his former House colleague Pete Hoekstra’s Senate bid in Michigan and $2,000 to Illinois freshman Congressman Bobby Schilling.

All the contributions were made during the month of September.

Shays finished the current political cycle with $15,183 cash on hand, a contrast from his previous re-election campaign when he was a member of the House.

The FEC still hasn’t closed the books on Shays’ 2008 campaign, which is shown to be $284,000 in debt.

Under FEC rules, Shays would be allowed to use money from his Senate campaign to pay off the bills from his final, failed House race.

But Shays has emphasized that he would not transfer any monies from his Senate piggy bank to pay off that debt, which he said he never would have incurred had he not been defrauded by his then-campaign manager Michael Sohn.

As part of Sohn’s guilty plea to charges of embezzling campaign funds and tax evasion, the former right-hand man to Shays has agreed to pay $253,000 in restitution to his dormant House campaign.

Questions linger over Sohn’s ability to repay the money he took, however.

Neil Vigdor