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State Rep. Chris Flanagan takes blame for campaign violation

1st Barnstable District State Representative Christopher Flanagan was found to have violated campaign finance law and has paid a fine for the infraction.
CAI file
1st Barnstable District State Representative Christopher Flanagan was found to have violated campaign finance law and has paid a fine for the infraction.

First Barnstable District State Representative Chris Flanagan is taking responsibility for falsifying a mailer that went out to voters in his first campaign for state rep nearly two years ago.

Flanagan was found to have created a fictitious person, Jeanne Louise, whose name was used on the mailer that was sent to voters, ostensibly on behalf of a group called "Conservatives for Dennis.”

The state’s Office of Campaign and Political Finance investigation could not locate Jeanne Louise and said in a statement that Flanagan at first described the woman while saying he had met her in 2022. The statement went on to say that the next day, Flanagan, through his lawyer, admitted that he had made up the woman to conceal his financial role in the creation of the mailer.

In a statement to CAI, Flanagan said the incident should never have happened and that oversight of the campaign is his responsibility.

The entire statement is:

“As someone who serves you, I take to heart my role, my duties to the public, and owning up to mistakes,” Flanagan’s statement said.

“I recently resolved a matter with the Massachusetts Office of Campaign & Political Finance (OCPF). As part of that resolution, OCPF issued fines for not complying with M.G.L. c 55, as well as requiring a donation to a 501c3 non-profit. This was in relation to a mailer sent during the 2022 election cycle, when I was first running for State Representative.

During OCPF’s review, I accepted responsibility for the mistakes that led to this outcome. This mailer should never have happened. Oversight of the campaign is my responsibility. It is important for me to share with you how truly sorry I am that this occurred and have taken steps to ensure that it never happens again. In the spirit of good governance, I agree with OCPF that the corrective measures they had me undergo to resolve the matter are in the best interest of the public.

I am incredibly grateful to serve you and our community as your state representative, and I do not take any of this lightly. Over the past few days, I appreciate the words of support and encouragement that I have received from friends and colleagues.

I look forward to the work ahead for us to create a brighter future for Cape Codders in Brewster, Dennis, Yarmouth, and our region. Please know how deeply sorry I am.”

Flanagan, a Democrat, is receiving criticism from within his own party.

"Representative Flanagan's behavior was wrong," said Speaker of the House Ron Mariano said in a statement, "and the OCPF findings are certainly concerning and have been addressed by the appropriate regulatory authorities."

“The House has its own procedures for investigating complaints regarding Members, should that process be initiated," Mariano said.

There has been no announcement of an ethics investigation.

The Flanagan campaign paid a $6,000 penalty in connection with OCPF's investigation in April, and the candidate himself agreed to pay a personal penalty this month of $9,000.

Flanagan has no Republican opponent in the November election, and the deadline has passed for filing papers to be on the ballot.

A Republican party spokesman said the party is considering finding a candidate to run as a write-in.

Read the OCPF letter:

John Basile is the local host of All Things Considered weekday afternoons and a reporter.