Rep. Elizabeth Esty said she plans to deal with her roughly $1 million campaign account balance after she leaves office next year.
"That frankly was advice I got from former members to say, 'listen, you need to focus on doing your job right now, and there will be plenty of time to figure that out when you are not in office.'"
Esty currently has $942,320 left in her campaign account, and has issued $385,133 in refunds.
The moves came after Esty announced she would need reelection to a fourth term in the wake of allegations of abuse in her office. She decided to retire after her handling of those allegations became public.
She said she plans to direct the money toward causes and groups she supports, but would not rule out some kind of a political use for the funds.
"At the end of my term I’m going to look at what to do and I’m getting lots of inquiries," Esty said. "There are a lot of causes I feel strongly about and gun violence is one of them. Actually, mental health issues and having a chance to really be deliberate and think about that."
Some Democrats, like Alfonso Robinson who lives in Esty’s district in the City of Danbury, don’t like seeing the three-term congressman drag her feet when it comes to using those funds.
"It should be about the whole Democratic party holding this president accountable and it makes it a little difficult when we have people like Elizabeth Esty using this money for her own purposes as opposed to doing what’s right for the party in general."
Esty could transfer the money to political action committees, which would directly support other candidates. She could also make donations to charities.
Jahana Hayes, the Democrat running to replace Esty has been fundraising at a torrid pace, especially compared to her opponent, Republican Manny Santos.
Hayes has so far raised $1.28 million, with $800,000 coming during the most recent fundraising period. Santos, on the other hand, has raised a total of $25,000 in his bid to flip the seat, and currently has $1,600 left in his campaign account.
Esty would not rule out support for Hayes, but said she has made it a point to not be involved in the race for her old seat.
"I have stayed out of that particular race but Jahana I’ve known for a long time and I have been in contact with her."
When asked whether Esty would plan to hold on to that cash for a future congressional run, she said, "I am definitely not running."