Nancy DiNardo, the state and Trumbull Democratic chair, says Trumbull Restaurateur and State Representative Candidate David Rutigliano is buying votes.
"While campaigning for the office of the state representative, ... Rugliano, a participant in the Citizens Election Program, distributed $5 coupons to his business, the Southport Brewing Company, with the purpose of promoting his candidacy," DiNardo's Oct. 4 complaint states.
"They are desperate, I have done nothing wrong," said Rutigliano.
"If I was Nancy DiNardo and had a governor with a 9 percent unemployment rate, the largest tax increase in state history and was still running with a deficit, I would want to change the subject also," Rutigliano said. "This is a political move by a desperate campaign trying to make me look bad. I'm not doing anything wrong."
Rutigliano said he hands out his business card, which has a $5 coupon on the back, when he talks about his business to constituents. But it's not part of his campaign literature.
He told the Connecticut Post, "If I'm out and about and someone mentions they like SBC, I'll say, 'Thank you very much,' and give them a card and tell them to come see me again."
DiNardo said Rutigliano is violating the rules of the Citizens Election Program, in which the candidate relies on public campaign financing.
"He's promoting his business and his business is promoting him," she said. "You're running for political office. You're not supposed to be promoting your business."
"I would think the business card has business information," she added.
According to Candidate Louis Bevilacqua, Rutigliano's opponent and a recently registered Republican, "They will handle the matter in an appropriate manner. We are not certain, as I have not seen the complaint, as to the facts of the case.
"I will say that the people are so used to politicians not working in their interest, that their interest in these things are at an all time low. That is bad for democracy and bad when it comes to the selection of competent leadership. Regardless of whether or not the public cares one way or the other, as public officials we have an obligation to the system, to the people and the elites to ensure the best leaders gain office.
"Rutigliano should keep his Fairfield based business interests separate from his campaign interests," he concluded.
Meanwhile, a GOP elections complaint against DiNardo, accusing her of failing to pay rent for Trumbull's Democratic Headquarters in the 2011 municipal elections, remains open.
DiNardo said she has paid the rent for using the Trumbull Center office space, which her family owns.