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Considering A Statewide Run, Ganim Asks Elections Enforcement To Clear Him For Public Campaign Funds

April 7th, 2017 · 11 Comments · Analysis and Comment, News and Events, State Politics

Pondering a run for statewide office for the 2018 election cycle, Mayor Joe Ganim has asked the Connecticut State Elections Enforcement Commission to provide a ruling on whether he is eligible to participate in the state’s Citizens Election Program of publicly funded races. At issue is a state law that appears to ban candidates with a public office felony conviction from accessing the clean election program. Ganim was convicted of public corruption charges in 2003 during his first tenure as mayor.

State law does not bar Ganim from public office. A law, however, passed in 2013 by the state legislature following the arrest of former State Senator Ernie Newton on state campaign finance charges could derail Ganim’s participation in the public financing program. Newton was accused of falsifying campaign donations to trigger a larger public grant as a state senate candidate in 2012. He was convicted on some of the lesser charges and was sentenced to six months. Newton is free pending appeal. The state passed a law prohibiting public campaign funds for those violating the public trust.

Ganim is being represented by elections lawyer Arnold Skretta. Ganim, through his lawyer, issued this statement on Friday.

“Today I am asking the State Elections Enforcement Commission for a declaratory ruling stating that I be allowed to participate in the Citizens’ Election Program should I seek statewide elected office. I want to be clear that I have not decided to seek statewide office, but it is something I am considering. If I do seek statewide office, I am absolutely committed to transparency and clean elections, and I would want to participate in the program.”

Simply put, I am looking for the same equal opportunity, should I decide to seek State elected office, to participate in the clean and fair public financing system that has transformed Connecticut’s elections for the better. If I should run for such an office, I am requesting the honor and privilege of being among those who can say they came to office free of special interest money.

As I read it, this statute potentially creates an illogical system whereby, although I am currently the Mayor of Connecticut’s largest city, and can run for and be elected to the highest offices in State government, this law appears to preclude me from participation in Connecticut’s clean election law program. This law, if so applied, could have the effect of distorting the democratic process.”

If Ganim is barred from receiving public funds and seeks statewide office he’d have to raise the money the old-fashioned way through large dollar donations from special interests. Public financing does not exist on a municipal election. The state enacted public financing following Governor John Rowland’s indictment on federal corruption charges and subsequent guilty plea more than 10 years ago.

Under the voluntary CEP program state candidates raise small dollar amounts of $100 and less to reach a fundraising threshold that triggers a larger pot of public money. The state has paid out tens of millions of dollars of campaign finance money since the program was enacted about a decade ago.

Ganim has already raised close to $200,000 for his 2019 mayoral reelection committee, a strategic move to bank the local loot so he can now focus on raising money for a possible statewide run.

If Ganim’s request is rejected by the SEEC, a potential option is filing a court complaint on constitutional grounds.

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11 Comments so far ↓

  • Andrew C Fardy

    For all you people who believed the bullshit coming out of Ganim’s mouth, here is the thanks you get.
    This fucking jerk is reliving Ganim1 all over again. You can see his father’s handprints all over the place. I honestly believe he will be before a federal judge sometime in the future. Joe, you still are a shithead.

  • John Marshall Lee

    Dear Mayor Ganim,
    You last campaigned with a “second chance” candidacy sharing your goal with a segment of Bridgeport’s population that has its own “second chance” aspirations. You also campaigned on a STOP RAISING TAXES platform and used words like open, accountable, transparent and honest as if they were important to the public, and they are.

    Now you are reported to say, “If I do seek statewide office, I am absolutely committed to transparency.” I am confused, Joe. Does that mean you don’t do transparency unless you seek statewide office? Why not let the folks see what the Wheelabrator settlement is costing the City because of a former Mayor who did not practice transparency among other failures? Why don’t you make the pension mess that we are in with Police, Fire and overtime issues clear to the public? While you are at it, please put out a chart identifying how getting permission from the State to bond certain City pension obligations benefits Bridgeport taxpayers who have never been told what Labor Relations cost City taxpayers with agreements since 2012? That’s a start on transparency, and so would sharing priorities and price tags every time you plan to spend taxpayer funds. How transparent can you get? Time will tell.

  • Bob Walsh

    “This is sooo unfair. Just because I was convicted of stealing from the good people of the city of Bridgeport SHOULD NOT prevented me from participating in the Clean Campaign Fund.
    “And if the SEEC does not allow me to participate, I will sue (using city funds) to ensure all convicted felons like myself have equal opportunity at the pot of gold.
    “Just because I was convicted of stealing once should not be used as a barometer of whether I will again.”
    Joe Ganim

  • Frank Gyure

    The “ego” of Joe Ganim has no bounds. Now we know his contrite “moral resurrection” was nothing but an act. About a month ago, I went to the “town hall” meeting at City Hall with Jim Himes. Mayor Ganim was there. I got into line to ask a question of Congressman Himes. As I waited, Mayor Ganim began to leave. He passed me within hand’s reach, his eyes were straight down to the floor avoiding any eye contact (I will admit that as I left, Mayor Ganim did stop to take a pic/selfie with a group of people at the entrance/exit to City Hall). Following him was his Bridgeport Police Detective driver/bodyguard etc. (I forgot his name) who actually was saying “excuse me” because the BPD detective is about twice the size of Joe Ganim. Here was a situation where a community leader, in fact, possibly the pre-eminent community leader, was walking through a grouping of his constituents and he did so with eyes glued to the ground.

  • Jennifer Buchanan

    I have a slight brain bruise from shaking my head, and a side stitch from uncontrollable laughter.

  • Maria Pereira

    Ganim is completely delusional.

    He won the Democratic Primary by 412 votes in Bridgeport. He will be slaughtered statewide.

    He received his second chance, and proved to be a compulsive liar and narcissist.

    Let’s make sure he doesn’t get a third.

  • Dave Walker

    This article should have come out on April Fool’s Day. It’s a very bad joke! If Ganim really believes he is electable statewide he is in dream land. He should not even be able to run much less get public financing. No wonder this state is called Corrupticut!

    • Ron Mackey

      Dave Walker, and now what about you, are you going to run for statewide office again after your loss in the Republican primary running for Lieutenant Governor along with John McKinney running for Governor? I must say John’s father, Stewart, was the best 4th District U.S. House of Representative from Connecticut that I’ve seen in my lifetime.

  • Joseph Sokolovic

    OMG what a brilliant Republican strategy to recapture the State Governor’s office! Imagine it. Ganim gets his matching funds. Sells his sob story “poor me all I need is a second second chance.” The liberals eat it up and put him on the ticket. The Republicans cream him in the general. Genius.

    Seriously though at Joe Ganim: I’m not much into politics but if you don’t increase the city’s portion of education dollars by at least 10% I’m going to get more involved in educating voters and maybe just maybe make this your last chance at any office.

  • Donald Day

    What’s the problem? Y’all want him gone outta Bridgeport, what better way to get rid of Mayor Ganim than to give him to the state so he can be a pain in the ass of the whole state.

  • charlie

    Joe would make millions by selling statewide jobs. I am sure the people of Bridgeport would vote for him, but thank GOD the people in the rest of the state are not that stupid. Actually if Felon Joe runs against Malloy he could win, but get his ass kicked in the general.

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