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Connecticut - Campaign Finance Reform

Update on Connecticut: Override Victory!

August 20, 2010
Last Friday, the Connecticut House of Representatives overrode Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s (R) veto of critical legislation engineered to amend and protect the state’s Citizens’ Election Program. By a resounding 106-30 vote, the House joined the state Senate, which voted to override the veto two weeks ago, in preserving the state’s Clean Elections system.

This reform measure satisfies all requirements to keep the law constitutional and ensures that adequate funding is available to all candidates who have opted into the system.

Courts Water Down Public Financing System

"Since 2008, Connecticut’s candidates for state offices, like State Representative, State Senator, or Governor, have had the option of participating in the state’s new public financing system, in which candidates can receive government checks to pay for their campaigns. After years of legal wrangling, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals finally passed judgment on the case Green Party of Connecticut v. Garfield , which dealt with the constitutionality of the program, called the Citizens’ Election Program (CEP)."

"The Court ruled that much of the framework for the CEP, such as the State’s ban on contributions from lobbyists, the ban on state contractors soliciting contributions, and the so-called “trigger” provision as well as the independent expenditure provisions are all unconstitutional. The core of the law, however, – politicians using government dollars to pay for their advertising – remains intact."
Senate President Donald Williams today joined U.S. Congressmen Joe Courtney, Chris Murphy and John Larson for a news conference at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford to announce their plans to introduce campaign finance reform legislation on the federal level.

Connecticut Legislature passed an unprecedented campaign finance reform bill combining restrictions on special interest groups with full public financing.

Connecticut Senate Bill 2103
October 25, Special Session, Public Act No. 05-5


Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective January 1, 2006) There is established, within the General Fund, a separate, nonlapsing account to be known as the "Citizens' Election Fund".

Portions of Connecticut law unfairly unfairly discriminated against third party candidates

"We are all for laws that increase the ability of more people to participate in the democratic process, but Connecticut's law did the opposite by creating a different set of rules for unaffiliated and minor party candidates that made participating even more difficult," said Andrew Schneider, Executive Director of the ACLU of Connecticut. "All we want is for minor parties to have a seat at the table. Today's ruling is a victory for free speech and equal protection for all candidates."

Interviews with five Connecticut state candidates who are using the Citizens' Election Program in it's first year being implemented.

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