The Connecticut Public Interest Research Group, the Senate and House Republican Caucus, and nine citizens filed objections to the Connecticut Democratic Party’s request to use federal funds on statewide races.
As of late Sunday evening, the State Elections Enforcement Commission, which warned the Democratic Party twice that it shouldn’t be using its federal account on statewide candidates has not filed its objection.
The Connecticut Democratic Party made the request to the Federal Elections Commission on Oct. 1. It told regulators it was looking for permission to use money in its federal account on a statewide mailing promoting the re-election of Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
The Democratic Party has declined comment directly on the request.
Evan Preston, state director of ConnPIRG, said the request “would undermine the determination by Connecticut voters, embodied in our state’s campaign finance laws, that transparency is be crucial to the Integrity of state elections.”
He explained the reason behind Connecticut’s campaign finance laws, which were upheld by a federal appeals court.
“Catalyzed by repeated, prominent examples of misuse of money in politics, Connecticut passed legislation to increase campaign finance transparency and reduce the influence of special interests and large donors by empowering small-donor supported candidates with public funds through the Citizens Election Program,” Preston wrote in his objection. “Our reforms were intended to improve public faith in our political process by showing who is supporting candidates, to curb contributions that are or could seem corrupting and to raise the voices of ordinary citizens so they are not marginalized by donors with significantly deeper pockets.”
The Senate Republican Caucus went even further calling the request “boldfaced.” in its attempt to “violate the letter and spirit” of Connecticut’s clean election laws.
“With the scandals of the past not too far in the rear view mirror, this blatant money grab certainly gives the appearance, if not the reality, or corruption,” the Senate Republican Caucus wrote.
The House Republican Caucus warned in its identical objection that this is not a minor request to change Connecticut’s election laws.
“This is not a slight change to our state’s campaign finance law—it literally changes the way we run campaigns in Connecticut,” the party wrote. “To simply draft up a memorandum of clarification to the Federal Elections Commission is yet another example of why the citizens of our state continue to be disenfranchised and distrust the officials elected to represent them.”
The nine objections from the citizens were simple and straight to the point.
“Allowing use of ‘federal funds’ in state campaigns would make a mockery of campaign finance reform. Don’t do it,” Don Noel of Hartford wrote in his objection to the Democratic Party’s request.
Roger Smith of West Hartford wrote “While CT SEEC [State Elections Enforcement Commission] may believe that routing funds to parties and other groups to influence state races violates the spirit but not the letter of the law, I think it is not legal and ask for you to issue an opinion to reduce the corrupting influence of money in our elections. We have had enough political scandals over the past decade.
And Wolfriend Mielert of Simsbury wrote.“I am a registered Democrat in the state of CT, but I am against the pending request of the DSCC [Democratic State Central Committee] to use money raised for federal campaigns on/for a state candidate. Such an action will weaken state election laws.”