Meriden state Sen.Thomas P. Gaffey is being investigated by Connecticut elections enforcement officials for thousands of dollars in travel expenses that were double-billed to the state and his political action committee.
Gaffey said the double-billing, for travel and hotel stays from 2004 to 2007, was not intentional. He told the Record-Journal of Meriden and The Hartford Courant on Thursday that he made mistakes with his expense reports and noted how busy he is with his full-time day job, his legislative duties and being a father.
"There were a number of trips that just got by me," he said. "I feel very badly about it. It's embarrassing."
The commission began to look into the financial records of Gaffey's political action committee after questions arose last year over how he received tickets to a Final Four basketball game, Gaffey said.
Gaffey said he paid for the tickets, which came from the chancellor of the Connecticut State University System. Gaffey said other concerns were raised by both himself and the commission, which is also looking into phone calls made by Gaffey's girlfriend on a cell phone paid for by his PAC's account.
Gaffey said he has repaid his PAC, called the Government Action Fund, with at least $2,500 from his personal funds. He said he may end up reimbursing another $800, and expects to settle the state investigation by paying a fine or, possible, forfeiting the PAC's assets.
"We are cooperating fully" with the continuing Elections Enforcement Commission probe, Gaffey said.
Commission Chairman Stephen Cashman said Thursday that he could not discuss details of the case, other than to confirm that the investigation "is ongoing and either complete or nearly complete."
Gaffey has served as a state senator for 14 years and is the third highest-ranking Democrat in the Senate and is chairman of the legislature's Education Committee.