City Councilor Cichetti addresses MassGOP spending complaint
| By Carley Dangona
AGAWAM – City Councilor James Cichetti hadn’t been told of a complaint by the Massachusetts Republican Party (MassGOP) until he was called by local reporters for his opinion.
At the beginning of June, Cichetti filed nomination papers to run for state representative for the 3rd Hampden District. On June 5, the GOP filed a complaint with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance regarding Cichetti’s spending. The main theme of the complaint is a lack of documentation and disclosure of Cichetti’s campaign spending.
On July 9, Cichetti told Reminder Publications, “‘It’s all going to be fine’ is what I’m being told” by the officials he is working with in Boston to resolve the mistakes.
To date, Cichetti has not received any citations, fees or fines. He said it’s all a misunderstanding and that he’s filed an amendment to his finance reporting to correct any errors. He still hasn’t had direct contact from the GOP.
“I reported it. I’m not trying to hide anything,” Cichetti said. He was unaware of the filing until a reporter contacted him for an interview about the complaint.
The GOP also accused Cichetti of accepting corporate contributions in 2013. He explained that during a campaign fundraiser, $50 check was contributed from Stick Time Sports Inc. – he didn’t realize at the time that the check was from the supporter’s business banking account.
“I would’ve returned it then,” Cichetti said. He has since returned the check and had the business owner reissue the $50 campaign fund donation from a personal account.
“It sort of put a sour taste in my mouth,” Cichetti said of the whole experience.
He addressed fellow politicians, “If you’re going to run for office, do so on your merit and what you’ve done as an incumbent. You shouldn’t have to mudsling. Throw all the Republican and Democrat stuff out the window and do what’s best for the people. We need to work together.”
Cichetti considers such tactics as “dirty politics” and said “there’s no reason for that.”
Currently listed as an Independent, Cichetti is trying to change his status to Democrat since the Legislature requires candidates choose either the GOP or the Democratic Party for their affiliation.
Cichetti explained that he thought and had been advised as such that pulling nomination papers for the House of Representatives seat, as a Democrat, was sufficient to change his affiliation, however, that was incorrect.
In an attempt to make the status change, Cichetti said he has done everything asked of him, including acquiring a total of 800 signatures – 400 for each party to petition for the state ballot slot. He has received contrasting directions from the Town Clerk’s office and Boston officials.
The Agawam City Council is non-partisan, so Cichetti said he is not used to dealing with such changes.
He is still waiting for the final ruling from Boston regarding whether the affiliation change would be accepted, but at this point Cichetti said he would most likely wait another two years to run since “it’s already halfway through July.” In his opinion, that is not enough time to campaign thoroughly.