Whitehouse Contributor Agrees to FEC Fine

Posted May 19, 2009 at 12:01pm

The ex-CEO of the Beacon Mutual Insurance Co. will pay a $6,400 penalty to the Federal Election Commission for reimbursing his employees for contributions to the 2006 campaign of Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).

Joseph Solomon contributed the maximum legal amount of $2,100 to Whitehouse ’06 prior to the Democratic primary in 2006. He then asked his executive assistant, Christina Burton, and his director of human resources, Pamela Alarie, to make $1,000 contributions to the campaign. He reimbursed Burton and Alarie, as well as Sheldon Sollosy, then-chairman of Beacon’s board of directors, for his $1,000 contribution.

Jim Rosati, who was named CEO of Beacon in January 2007, filed the initial complaint to the FEC in July 2007.

In an April 13 conciliation agreement, Solomon insisted that he did not know his actions were against the law but agreed to pay $6,400 to the FEC, and Whitehouse 06 would return the contributions to the Treasury by June 12.

Alex Swartsel, a spokeswoman for Whitehouse, said that her boss was unaware that the contributions were illegal when the campaign received them and that he returned the funds to the Treasury as soon as the conciliation agreement was finalized.

Stephen Hershkowitz of Sandler, Reiff & Young said he would be “shocked— if the Justice Department followed up on the settlement with criminal charges.

This was not the only legal trouble that played out for Beacon in 2006. The “nonprofit independent public corporation,— whose board of nine members includes four appointed by the governor of Rhode Island, handles workers compensation and property casualty insurance. Mismanagement and abuse of funds led to Solomon and Sollosy’s departures from the corporation in 2006.