Governor Rell comes to the table on campaign finance reform.
The last Friday of the month means Bond Commission day at the state Captiol, when reporters level questions at the governor at a press avail after she wraps up the meeting . Today, Governor Rell began the event with a statement on a range of topics, from thanking the state Senate for passing stem cell research funding, to saying she still doesn’t know if she’ll veto the school nutrition bill.Then, as if the statement were thrown in by accident, Rell mentioned that her chief of staff and ethics officer “would be available to discuss campaign finance reform” with Democratic leaders.That’s important. Just Thursday, House Democrats called on Rell to negotiate, while Senate Dems stayed away. The one chamber event highlighted ongoing differences between the House and Senate (see Campaign Finance Deform, 5/26/05).Rell’s comment about discussions wasn’t questioned by reporters until the end of the meeting, when we asked if her comment signifies the beginning of negotiations.Rell sidestepped the query. “We’ve been available since the beginning of session,” she said, adding that reform shouldn’t just “nibble around the edges,” and that it should eliminate lobbyist and contractor contributions altogether.“I perceive it as nothing other than a negotiation,” said a visibly pleased state Rep. Chris Caruso (D-Bridgeport), co-chairman of the Government Administration and Elections Committee. “It’s a big step.”