About Commission

   Michael Brandi Biography

Michael J. Brandi has been Executive Director and General Counsel of the State Elections Enforcement Commission since February 3, 2012. Mr. Brandi became the Commission's sixth Executive Director and General Counsel, following the departure of Albert P. Lenge, who retired in September 2011. The appointment of Mr. Brandi concluded a rigorous six-month search to fill the vacant position, and happened at a time when the agency was in flux due to agency consolidations.

Mr. Brandi, a graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Law and the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, was a practicing attorney from Hamden, Connecticut. For the previous seven years, he worked at the firm of Cohen and Acampora in East Haven, specializing in municipal, administrative and business law, and serving as advisor to dozens of corporations and business entities. From 2002 to 2004, he served as the Chief Administrative Officer of the Town of Hamden, where he administered operations for the town of 58,000, and was responsible for supervising and coordinating the operations of 13 municipal departments. Prior to that he worked at the firm of Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, as a member of the firm's Litigation, Corporate and Real Estate Practice Groups. Mr. Brandi is an experienced administrator and attorney, practicing law in Connecticut since 1996.

Commissioner Stephen F. Cashman said, "After an exhaustive nationwide search for candidates to fill the position of Executive Director and General Counsel we were fortunate to have found a pool of highly qualified candidates from which to choose. Michael Brandi is an exceptionally talented and dynamic person and a respected attorney. In light of the challenges we face in the area of public campaign financing and agency consolidation issues, it is essential to have someone with his experience and energy to lead the Commission through this difficult time."

The State Elections Enforcement Commission is responsible for ensuring independent, non-partisan enforcement of all election laws in Connecticut as well as providing campaign finance advice and serving as the repository for all state-wide campaign finance reports and committee registrations. Since 2005, the Commission also has been home to the Citizens' Election Program, Connecticut's innovative, successful public financing program.

Contact: Telephone: 860-256-2940     Email: Michael.Brandi@ct.gov

Commission Overview and History

In the wake of the Watergate scandal, the Connecticut General Assembly created a five member bi-partisan and independent State Elections Commission (Public Act 74-213) to ensure the integrity of the state's electoral process. The Commission was given the authority to investigate possible violations of the election laws, inspect campaign finance records and reports, refer evidence of violations to the Chief State's Attorney or to the Attorney General, issue advisory opinions and make recommendations to the General Assembly concerning revisions to the state's election laws. Appointments to the Commission are divided equally amongst the Governor and the four highest ranking leaders of the General Assembly.

In its first year of operations, the Commission was given a budget of $50,000 and utilized staff loaned by the Secretary of the State, temporary and summer workers. Until April 1975, the Commission conducted its activities without the benefit of a permanent office. Since 1974, the Commission's investigative and enforcement authority has grown. It now has full subpoena power, can impound voting machines and absentee ballots, require a forfeiture of contributions or payments and impose civil penalties against violators. The Commission's enabling authority can be found in §§ 9-7a and 9-7b of the General Statutes.

In 2005, Public Act 05-5 established the Citizens’ Election Program, giving the Commission the authority to administer the most sweeping public campaign finance program in the country. The CEP provides public campaign grants to qualified candidates for Statewide offices and the General Assembly, who adhere to expenditure limits and other program requirements.

The Commission is also charged with developing and implementing an electronic campaign reporting system (eCRIS). The Commission is now the state campaign finance filing repository for all past and present campaign finance records for party committees, political committees and candidate committees organized for state elections.

The Commission currently has a permanent full time staff, with 35 authorized positions, headed by the Executive Director and General Counsel. More than 200 investigations are conducted each year, with sanctions imposed in approximately two-thirds of the cases. Commission staff also responds to thousands of requests for oral and written advice. It regularly conducts training sessions for candidates, campaign treasurers and others concerning campaign finance requirements. The agency also produces publications to assist the public in navigating the campaign finance laws and regulations. Each year, the Commission makes recommendations to the General Assembly for revising election laws.

Directions to the Commission
55 Farmington Ave
Hartford, CT 06105


Appointments to the Commission are divided equally amongst the Governor and the four highest ranking leaders of the General Assembly, the Speaker of the House, House Minority Leader, Senate President Pro Tempore and the Senate Minority Leader. Since its inception in 1974, there have been 44 appointments to the Commission and 11 Commission chairs.

Current Commissioners

   Stephen Penny - Chair

Attorney Stephen T. Penny was appointed to serve as a Commissioner by then Senate President Pro Tempore Donald Williams on August 7, 2013. Mr. Penny graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a B.A. degree in 1970, and from the University of Connecticut School of Law with a J.D. degree in 1973. Since that time, he has been engaged in the general practice of law in the Town of Manchester, including real estate, litigation, labor relations, municipal and zoning law. He currently is a law partner at Penny, Botticello & O'Brien, P.C., also in Manchester. Mr. Penny is a former mayor of Manchester, having served on its Board of Directors for ten years. He currently sits on the Cheney Hall Foundation Board and was President of the Manchester Rotary Club. He is also a member of Friendship Lodge of Masons, Sphinx Temple Shriners, and is the announcer at the Manchester Road Race, one of the oldest and most respected races in the country.

   Michael J. Ajello - Vice Chair

Michael J. Ajello was appointed to the Commission by then Senate Minority Leader John McKinney in November 2013. By profession, he is an attorney and has been for over twenty years. His practice is focused in the areas of real estate closings, real estate law, and civil litigation. A large portion of his litigation experience involves real estate issues including foreclosures, condemnation actions, partition actions, land use appeals, summary process and other landlord-tenant disputes, and other property related litigation, as well as commercial litigation, and contracts. He has also served as Chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission of Hamden. Mr. Ajello has a Bachelor of Science degree from Northeastern University and a Juris Doctor from Thomas M. Cooley Law School, and was past president of the Paradise Country Club.

   Shannon Bergquist
Shannon R.T. Bergquist was appointed to the Commission by Speaker of the House Matt Ritter for a term commencing in April of 2021. Ms. Bergquist graduated from Colby College in 1997 with a bachelor's degree in Government as well as a juris doctor degree from Northeastern University School of Law in 2003. She has been an instructor at the University of Connecticut's Registrar of Voters Certification Program since 2016. Prior to joining the Commission, she also served as an attorney in the Commission's Enforcement Unit, an election support officer for the Office of the Secretary of the State, a law clerk to the Honorable Thomas A. Bishop of the Connecticut Appellate Court, and handled various bankruptcy and commercial litigation matters at Baker, O'Sullivan and Bliss, P.C. Ms. Bergquist also served as the vice-chairperson of the Town of Colchester’s Ethics Commission.

   Gregory Piecuch

Gregory W. Piecuch was appointed to the Commission in 2021 by House Republican Leader Vincent Candelora. Mr. Piecuch earned his Bachelor of Arts in Government from Franklin & Marshall College and his Juris Doctor from the University of Connecticut School of Law. Professionally, his law practice focuses on real property matters and commercial law. Before joining the Commission, Mr. Piecuch was active in local politics in his hometown of Simsbury. Over the years, he served in various town committee offices, including as treasurer and secretary, while managing many campaigns. Mr. Piecuch was twice elected to municipal office, first to the Planning Commission and then to the Zoning Board of Appeals. He also participated in the Citizens’ Election Program as a candidate for state representative. He has proudly volunteered his time in his community, including as a director of the Simsbury Performing Arts Center.

   Sonia Worrell Asare

Attorney Sonia Worrell Asare was appointed to the Commission in 2023 by Governor Ned Lamont. Sonia graduated from Spelman College with a BA in Economics, Syracuse College of Law with a Certification in Business Law, and master’s in economics from Syracuse University Maxwell School of Public Administration. She has a master’s in business administration from Quinnipiac University and holds a Certification in Health Care Compliance and Black Belt designation in Six Sigma Lean Process Management. She recently received her certification in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion from Cornell University. Sonia has served in several legal and leadership roles with the State of Connecticut and Trinity Health of New England. Most recently Sonia joined Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island as the Chief Compliance Officer. In current her role, she leads the corporate compliance, government programs compliance team, and commercial compliance accreditation team. Sonia is the recipient of several leadership awards during her tenure in state service, including being a member of Governor Malloy’s Aspiring Leaders Program and was honored for her fundraising endeavors for local nonprofits with the Sherbie Worthen Volunteer Award for 2013-2014 Connecticut State Charitable Giving Campaign Award. Sonia is also a 2017 winner of the Hartford Business Journal’s 40 under Forty.

   Former Commissioners

Andrew Cascudo - 2018-2023

Anthony J. Castagno - 2016-2021

Salvatore A. Bramante - 2016-2021

Patricia Stankevicius - 2009-2018

Stephen F. Cashman, Chair - 2000-2013

Joan B. Jenkins - 2003-2013

Richard C. Bozzuto - 2007-2012

Teresa B. Gerratana - 2009-2010

Father Michael J. Dolan - 2006-2009

Santa Mendoza - 2002-2007

Tracey Green Cleary - 2004-2005

Audrey D. Brett - 2009-2018

William R. Sokolowski, Chair - 1996-2004

Albert Rogers, Chair - 1987-2003

Amalia M. Toro - 2000-2002

Alice W. Lynch, Chair - 1982-2002

Laurence D. Cohen -1995-

Nicholas F. Serignese - 1995-2000

Michael H. Handler - 1990-2000

Joseph F. Skelley - 1985-1988

Robert S. Orcutt - 1985-1995

Richard L. Sturdevant - 1984-1985

Edward W. Leonard - 1982-1987

Susan Hobbie Bennet - 1981-1984

Andrew D. Coleman, Chair - 1980-1995

Samuel E. Slaiby - 1980-1985

Alan H. Nevas - 1979-1980

William Smythe -1979-

Richard F.Jones, Jr. -1978-

H. Bacon Collamore, Jr., Chair - 1978-1982

Marylouise Fennell - 1978-1982

James Demetriades - 1978-1980

Dalila Soto, Chair - 1978-1980

William T. Kosturko, Chair - 1976-1978

Herbert Emaneulson - 1975-1978

Thomas Kendig -1976-

Carl Guglietta - 1975-1977

Donald Paolucci - 1974-1975

Joseph T. Domingue - 1974-1975

James J. Conefrey - 1974-1978

Claire S. Jacobs, Chair - 1974-1978

Lester B. Snyder, Chair - 1974-1975

Telephone: 860-256-2940

Telephone: 866-SEEC-INFO (866-733-2463)

Fax: 860 256-2981

Fax: 860 256-2983