It’s hard to play the game if you don’t know the rules. Just ask all the people running for statewide offices—who have no idea what rules will end up governing how they raise money.
Gubernatorial candidate Susan Bysiewicz went to court Tuesday to help her and all her opponents get some answers. She asked the court to clarify the fundraising rules for 2010.
“We just need to know what the rules are,“ Bysiewicz said Tuesday. She said that’s why she filed this amicus brief with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
“I decided to file this brief because time is of the essence. We are just five months away from our state convention and eight months away from a statewide primary and we need to know the rules,” Bysiewicz said.
Bysiewicz was submitting a brief in the case of the Green Party v. Connecticut. In that case, the appeals court is deciding whether to throw out the state’s existing public financing law, as a federal judge ruled last August.
In a visit to the Capitol press room Tuesday Bysiewicz said she filed the brief with the court to give it a candidates’ perspective of how disruptive throwing out the public system could be to the 2010 election. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in the case on Jan. 13.
Ned Lamont, another Democratic candidate exploring a run for governor in 2010, said Tuesday that he really thinks it’s important “they clarify the rules of the road.” The ambiguity isn’t good for any of the candidates, he said.
He said he hopes the court rules expeditiously, but won’t be basing his decision to jump from an exploratory committee to a candidate committee on the courts decision.
“I’ve got to make up my mind about whether we move from an exploratory to a candidate committee and whether we take taxpayer financing or not,” Lamont said.
He said he’d have his answer sometime next month.
At the moment Lamont said he’s raising small donations from individuals and keeping with the spirit of the public campaign finance law, however, he didn’t rule out self-funding his campaign should he decide to become a full blown candidate.
At least one of the two Republican candidates for governor has said they he won’t participate in the public finance system and will raise money privately. That candidate is Greenwich businessman and former Ambassador to Ireland Tom Foley.
“I’m not sure the Democrats want to fight with one arm tied behind their backs,” Lamont said.
While Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy said he sees Lamont’s point, he said he doesn’t believe it’s a good enough reason to ignore the whole Citizens Election program.
“In order for CEP to survive it needs the full and complete support of the entire Democratic Party,” Malloy said in a press release Monday.
“That means more than just words. It means actually utilizing a program that so many Democrats worked so hard to create,” Malloy said. “If a well-known Democrat such as Ned chooses not to do so, it could deal a major blow to the system’s future. It’s time to prove that our actions and our ideals are more than just rhetoric.”
Malloy said Tuesday that he doesn’t understand why the General Assembly hasn’t acted to correct the problems U.S. District Court Judge Stefan Underhill pointed out with the system when he decided it was “unconstitutional.”
“If the legislature had acted the Court of Appeals wouldn’t be hearing the appeal because it would have been moot,” Malloy said.
Other Democrats running for governor who plan to participate in the public campaign system include Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi, former House Speaker James Amann, and state Sen. Gary LeBeau. Republican Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele has also pledged to participate in the public campaign system.