SEIU Connecticut State Council executive director steps down following controversial ad

(WTNH) — The Service Employees International Union Connecticut State Council has released a statement on a controversial internet ad linking Dr. William Petit to Donald Trump. Executive Director Paul Filson has now stepped down.

The ad said “Stop Donald Trump and Republican William Petit’s attack on women and families” and it then encouraged people to vote. Petit says he’ll consider suing over the ad.

Petit, whose wife and two daughters were killed in the Cheshire home invasion, is a Republican running for state representative in the 22nd House District. It includes Plainville and part of New Britain. Petit’s opponent, Democrat Betty Boukis, called for the internet ads to be taken down.

The political action committee Labor United for Connecticut paid for them. The PAC says the ad isn’t personal. It has run the same ad with names of other republican candidates as well.

SEIU Connecticut State Council released the following statement in response to the ad:

“Because of regulations inherent to independent expenditures we, as an organization, are not permitted to know the content that is distributed on behalf of those political efforts. Campaign finance laws are explicitly clear that there cannot be any coordination between our organization and that of Labor United for Connecticut. Therefore, our organizations were not in a position to vet, approve or even be made aware of the digital ad that ran in Dr. Petit’s district. However, once the ad became public yesterday it was clear it was not reflective of our locals’ or SEIU’s standard and it should have never taken place. We offer our sincere apology to Dr. Petit and feel strongly this ad should have never run in his district under any circumstances. It is extremely regrettable that such poor judgment was exhibited by those tasked with running the independent expenditure and we have taken action to remove those responsible from the campaign. Additionally, SEIU Connecticut State Council accepted Paul Filson’s resignation as Executive Director of the council. This election offers clear differences in the path for Connecticut and our nation and it is our hope these campaigns will be issue based.”

News 8 reached out to Petit. He sent us this statement:

“No one likes to see anyone lose their job but this was an example of the systemic problem in our political process where personal attacks and libelous slurs have replaced actual discussions on policy issues. This is why I am running, to bring sensible issue focused leadership to the General Assembly in order to solve the serious problems facing the 22nd District and the State of Connecticut.”

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