As expected, the State Elections Enforcement Commission has ruled Mayor Joe Ganim is ineligible for public campaign funds under Connecticut’s Citizens Election Program of publicly funded races that is expected to dole out roughly $40 million to candidates in 2018. They ruled against Ganim citing his public corruption conviction in 2003. See SEEC decision here.
The SEEC delivered a “draft” decision that is expected to be validated by the board next month. It was based on a state law passed in 2013 that prohibits public campaign funds for elected officials who’ve violated their public oath. Ganim asked for a declaratory ruling to explore legal remedies.
Ganim has formed an exploratory committee for a long-shot statewide office in a growing field of candidates after Governor Dan Malloy announced he’ll not seek reelection next year. Ganim did not expect the state commission to side with him. To qualify for public funds he’ll need to file a court action.
If he does so and a court rules against Ganim he’s not prohibited from running. It means he’d have to raise money the old-fashioned way through large dollar contributions that would undercut his message of the need to eliminate dark money special interests from campaigns. Under the state’s public financing system, candidates must reach a threshold of small donations to achieve a large public grant. In the case of governor it represents millions in public dough.
Some state Republicans want to scuttle the public financing system, arguing the state cannot afford the program given the financial mess in Hartford.
While Ganim has formed an exploratory committee, he has done little so far to build a campaign infrastructure for a statewide run. If his statewide plan fails he has a backup. He has already raised nearly $200,000 for his mayoral reelection in 2019.
Statement from Ganim:
“There is absolutely no rationale for barring people who have committed prior bad acts from engaging in a system that is designed to prevent corruption and the influence of special interest in our elections. As a result of the lack of analysis on the deprivation of constitutional rights, this matter will likely end up in a court of law for final determination.”