Worcester Law Firm Owners Fined $8K for Making Illegal Contributions To Polito

The co-owners of a Worcester law firm agreed to pay $8,000 to the state’s general fund as part of a disposition agreement concerning prohibited contributions to a statewide candidate, according to the Office of Campaign and Political Finance. Each owner also agreed to make a $1,000 donation to charity.

Law firm owners Louis Aloise and Michael Wilcox gave three employees $1,000 each to reimburse them for contributions the employees would make, at the request of the owners, to the Karyn Polito Committee in April, 2014, according to the Sept. 30 disposition agreement between OCPF and the owners.

Aloise and Wilcox agreed to ask colleagues and friends to attend an April, 2014, fundraiser at a Worcester restaurant to benefit Polito’s campaign.  Shortly before the event, Aloise and Wilcox realized that none of the individuals they had asked to attend the fundraiser were able to attend.   To ensure a reasonable turnout at the event, Aloise and Wilcox asked three employees and their spouses to attend the event.

Each of the three employees and their spouses made individual $500 contributions to the Polito Committee on April 23 with money that was provided to them by Aloise and Wilcox.  The owners of the law firm and their spouses also contributed $500 each, using their personal funds.

The campaign finance law prohibits an individual from making a contribution by disguising the true origin of the funds.  The law also capped individual contributions to $500 per calendar year in 2014 (starting Jan. 1, 2015, the limit increased to $1,000).

Aloise and Wilcox cooperated with OPCF’s review, according to the disposition agreement.

The Polito Committee had no knowledge that the contributions were made with prohibited funds, according to the disposition agreement.  The committee has disgorged $3,000, the total amount contributed by the law firm employees and their spouses.

The agreement was signed by Aloise and Wilcox, and OCPF Director Michael J. Sullivan.

A disposition agreement is a voluntary written agreement entered into between the subject of a review and OCPF, in which the subject agrees to take certain specific actions.

The Office of Campaign and Political Finance is an independent state agency that administers the campaign finance law, MGL Chapter 55, and the limited public financing program for statewide candidates, MGL Chapter 55C.  Established in 1973, OCPF is the depository for disclosure reports filed by candidates and political committees.