BOSTON (State House News Service) – Republican Sen. Ryan Fattman will be required to pay $55,000 in connection with alleged campaign finance law violations tied to his wife Stephanie Fattman’s 2020 campaign for reelection as Worcester County Register of Probate.
Attorney General Andrea Campbell’s office on Tuesday morning announced the settlements with Sen. Fattman and Register Fattman. The settlement also applies to Sen. Fattman’s campaign treasurer Donald Fattman, who will pay $10,000, the Republican State Committee, and the Sutton Republican Committee and its chair Anthony Fattman, who will resign from that post.
The settlements “resolve allegations that each person or entity violated state campaign finance laws” during Stephanie Fattman’s 2020 campaign, Campbell’s office said, adding that the payments by the campaign committees of Ryan and Stephanie Fattman “represent the largest amounts ever paid by candidate committees to the Commonwealth to resolve alleged campaign finance violations.”
The state Office of Campaign and Political Finance had referred to the attorney general’s office its investigation into campaign contributions funneled from Sen. Fattman’s campaign committee, through state and local Republican committees, to Register Fattman’s committee.
Summarizing the case, the attorney general’s office said Tuesday: “The investigation revealed that in 2020, Senator Fattman’s campaign donated money to the Republican State Committee and the Sutton Republican Town Committee, which used the money to fund over 550,000 mailers in support of (and made other in-kind donations to) Register Fattman’s campaign re-election campaign. These contributions, totaling more than $160,000, of which $137,000 flowed through the Republican State Committee, far exceeded the legal limit $100 on contributions from one candidate to another.”
Stephanie Fattman faced no Republican opponent in the 2020 GOP primary and defeated Democrat John Dolan III in the general election, 212,264 votes to 178,805.
According to the settlement, Stephanie Fattman and her campaign committee will disgorge $137,000, or “the full amount of the impermissible contributions funneled to the Stephanie Fattman Committee through the Republican State Committee.” To fulfill that obligation, Stephanie Fattman must disgorge all current assets of her campaign committee and make four annual payments of $27,000 from the campaign committee, on or before Oct. 31, 2027.
Stephanie and Ryan Fattman will each also retain professional agents to ensure campaign finance law compliance through the 2026 primary and general election, according to the agreements.
The Worcester Telegram & Gazette, citing an interview with Stephanie Fattman on Friday in Sen. Fattman’s office, quoted Stephanie Fattman as saying, “We’re happy to move forward and put this behind us.”
“There was no finding of liability, no admission of wrongdoing,” Sen. Fattman said in the same interview, according to the Telegram.
The settlements include language stipulating that the Fattmans “deny these allegations” and “make no admission of liability” but wish to “fully and finally resolve these claims to avoid the expense and uncertainty of litigation.”
“Enforcing our campaign finance laws, and holding those who violate them accountable, are critical functions of our office,” Campbell said in a statement. “We will continue to hold accountable those who misuse positions of power, break the law and undermine the public’s trust.”
The settlement requires Donald Fattman, former treasurer of Sen. Fattman’s campaign committee, to pay $10,000.
The Sutton Republican Town Committee has paid $5,211.48 — the remains of its committee bank account — to the state as part of the settlement, and Anthony Fattman, the senator’s brother, will resign immediately as chair of the Sutton Republican Town Committee and is banned from serving as chair in the future.
The AG’s office said a settlement agreement it reached in September with the Massachusetts Republican State Committee and its new chair Amy Carnevale applied to the committee’s role “in the same campaign finance violations.” The state committee agreed to pay $15,000 by December 2023.
Sen. Fattman is one of three Republicans currently serving in the 40-seat Massachusetts Senate.