Appeals Court Rules On CT Public Financing, Bring On The Lobbyists

From Ed Mahony, Hartford Courant:

In a decision that will have immediate implications for one of the most competitive state political campaign cycles in years, a federal appeals court overruled a lower court’s conclusion that the state’s landmark campaign finance reform law unconstitutionally discriminates against minor party candidates.

However, in a densely worded, 56-page decision, the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s invalidation of two of the finance reform law’s “trigger provisions” that govern excess and independent campaign expenditures. The decision, written by appeals court Judge Jose Cabranes of New Haven, said the trigger provisions violate the first amendment rights of candidates and other individuals and organizations to “spend their own funds on campaign speech.”

The decision on public financing of campaigns was one of two released in New York Tuesday on the state’s campaign finance reform law.

A second 38-page decision upheld some and rejected other parts of the state law restricting campaign contributions and political activity by lobbyists and state contractors.

The appeals court upheld U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill’s conclusion that the law’s ban on contributions by state contractors, prospective state contractors, the principals of contractors and prospective state contractors is valid under first amendment free speech protections.

But the appeals court reversed Underhill and struck down the provisions of the law that bans contributions by lobbyists and their families and that prohibits contractors, lobbyists, and their families from soliciting contributions on behalf of candidates. Such prohibitions violate the first amendment, the decision said.

Dick Blumenthal statement:


“Today’s decisions uphold significant provisions of the Citizens Election Program and the state’s ban on political contributions by state contractors, but strike down bans against lobbyist donations and solicitations of contributions. The decisions also strike the provision providing additional funding to candidates when an opponent spends beyond a publicly financed candidate’s threshold.

“Both cases have been returned to Judge Underhill in the U.S. District Court to decide whether provisions struck down today render the entire public financing law unconstitutional. Judge Underhill has not established a schedule for his review and ruling.

“Our office will continue to fulfill its obligation to defend the statute. In the meantime, publicly financed campaigns may continue to operate pending Judge Underhill’s ruling without previous prohibitions against lobbyist contributions. Public finance payments already made to candidates remain valid and may be retained and spent.”

Dan Malloy response:


The following is a statement from Dan Malloy, the Democratic Party’s endorsed candidate for Governor:

“Today’s decision is just one step in a long process, a process that I am confident will result in Connecticut’s public financing law remaining in place. In the short term, the decision has no impact on the primary election I’m engaged in – I’m as confident as ever that we’re going win on August 10th because this campaign represents values and experience that money can’t buy.

“The questions facing Connecticut are do we want elections to be auctions won by the wealthy, and do we want to go back to the old way of doing business? I can’t imagine we do, and I bet the people of Connecticut agree. That’s why I’m confident that the State Elections Enforcement Commission and the Attorney General will pursue a remedy that puts the interests of the people first, and that the system so many worked so hard to put in place will be preserved and enhanced.”

Tom Foley reaction:

Tom Foley for Governor Statement on 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Ruling on Green Party vs. Garfield

Stamford, Conn., — Today the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Green Party vs. Garfield, issuing a mixed ruling on Connecticut’s taxpayer financing system. Tom Foley for Governor’s Campaign Manager Justin Clark released the following statement on the court’s ruling:

“The Tom Foley for Governor Campaign disagrees with the overall finding that the Citizens Election Program is constitutional and disagrees with using taxpayer money to fund political campaigns. However, we are pleased the court struck down the unconstitutional ‘top up’ provision of the law.” Mr. Clark noted that the “top up” provisions are at issue in the state court case argued yesterday and that Tom’s constitutional arguments in that case are vindicated by this decision.

The court issued the following statement on the “top up” provision:

“The CEP’s trigger provisions impose a ‘penalty’ on the right of candidates and other individuals and organizations ‘to spend personal funds for campaign speech.’ Davis v. Fed. Election Comm’n, 128 S. Ct. 2759, 2771 (2008). As a result, the trigger provisions violate the First Amendment unless they are ‘justified by a compelling state interest.’ Id. at 2772 (quotation marks omitted). In the case before us, the state’s asserted interests—promoting participation in the CEP and eliminating corruption or the perception of corruption—are not sufficiently ‘compelling’ to justify a burden on the right to spend personal funds for campaign speech. See id. at 2773-74.”

From Fedele campaign:


(West Hartford) – Chris Cooper, Communications Director for Fedele 2010, today made the following statement after Hartford Superior Court ruled against Tom Foley’s request to obstruct the disbursement of up to $2.5 million in Clean Election Funds:

“It is no surprise that the court has rejected Tom Foley’s frivolous lawsuit, intended to obstruct an honest debate on the issues, and disenfranchise the small-dollar contributions of nearly 3,000 ordinary citizens – in favor of Foley’s personal fortune derived from running a working class town off the map,” said Cooper. Now voters will have a choice between Tom Foley, a candidate who has used this frivolous suit in a failed attempt to distract voters from his scandal plagued past and serial misrepresentations of his record – and Mike Fedele, a candidate who has pledged to veto tax increases, and bring enhanced ethics and accountability state Government, and this campaign.”



  1. WOW!!!
    Gotta love it.
    Ladies and Gentlemen, what we have here is chaos. Utter and complete chaos.
    So much for Dan Malloy getting more moolah based on how much Ned Lamont spends.
    I can hear MCAT hissing already.

  2. WOW, indeed! Grin do you think it would be legal for state contractors, prospective state contractors, the principals of contractors and prospective state contractors to hire or encourage lobbyists or their families to go out and solicit contributions on behalf of candidates preferred by contractors? Plenty of loopholes here.

    This made me glad: “The decisions also strike the provision providing additional funding to candidates when an opponent spends beyond a publicly financed candidate’s threshold.”
    If I spend or raise more money than another candidate during an election, why should the taxpayers make up the difference? A Republican candidate has to bust his/her ass to raise money as it is already in Bridgeport. If a Republican busted his ass to raise $25,000 more than his already advantaged Democratic opponent, what stops the Democratic opponent from doing the same? Heck, they don’t even have to, Mario would raise it for them.

  3. Here’s an opportunity for the vastly informed to assist the half-vastly informed. The subject is campaign financing here in CT and specifically locally.
    What does it cost to run for Council person? For Board of Education? For Mayor? In the City of Bridgeport. Money is generally supplied by a party, fund-raising events, checks from supporters and friends and what other categories and percentages?
    Your campaign staffing looks like what for a Council, BOE or Mayoral run? If you are neither Republican nor Democrat affiliated, where do you go for the savvy and expertise regarding rules and laws of reporting, filing, etc.?
    It seems many bloggers keep looking for a “great leader” to appear out of the ether. Why not share some of your expertise with OIB readers? Those candidates may appear and may be encouraged to run to change the way things continue to be run. How would that be? Perhaps comments from many of you will mentor a leader, or several, who help Bridgeport re-form itself and use the gifts that are present rather than muddle in mediocrity or worse?

  4. BEACON2 In my primary for the council I relied on the Secretary of State’s Office for help in my filings and how to do this portion of running. They were very helpful.
    I also asked many questions of the Registrar of Voters and found that office very helpful.
    We had a web page that was put together at no cost by my running-mate Ann Barney.
    Because we were in a primary and we were not endorsed candidates we received no money from the party.
    Ann and I ran a grassroots campaign and financed it ourselves. The campaign signs were ordered from an online company as were the door knockers and the other paper with our platform and telling who we were. We visited every house in the district and hand-delivered our message. We had no mailings and no billboards.
    We lost the election by a narrow margin, but for a third set of candidates who entered at the last minute we may have won but we did not.
    My point is at the council level you need a good pair of shoes and a computer with a printer and you could win.
    I hope this helps.

  5. “A Plan to Move Connecticut Forward.” Lamont has a plan to create jobs, expand business and put people back to work. People are earning money (working) from jobs created by elections. All candidates riding on the “jobs” bandwagon are hiring and spending in the state they are seeking office, you would think! If you visit ecris in the next reporting period, you may get an idea as to how much Ned paid Lennie for the OIB ad. Let’s see who has been winning from recent jobs created by Ned Lamont:

    Sunflower Management
    418 Elm St Raleigh NC 27601 CNSLT

    Joe Abbey
    1600 N Oak St Apt 11 Arlington VA 22209 CNSLT
    Consulting Services

    Gordon McDonald
    6725 19th Rd N Arlington VA 22205-1807 CNSLT
    Consulting Fee

    Peter D. Hart & Associates
    1724 Connecticut Ave NW Washington DC 20009 POLLS
    Research Polling

    Trilogy Interactive, LLC
    1508 W Sunnyside Ave Chicago IL 60640 WEB
    New Media: Website

    1251 Avenue of the Americas New York NY 10020-1104 CNSLT

    Sheehan Associates
    1150 17th St NW Ste 604 Washington DC 20036 CNSLT
    Consulting Services

    Evans & Katz LLC
    1831 Bay St SE Washington DC 20003 CNSLT

    Mack Crounse Group
    2001 N Beauregard St Ste 420 Alexandria VA 22311-1750 A-DM
    Campaign Literature

    The Campaign Group
    1600 Locust St Philadelphia PA 19103-6305 A-TV

    1251 Avenue of the Americas New York NY 10020-1104 CNSLT

    Sandler, Reiff & Young, P.C.
    300 M St SE Ste 1102 Washington DC 20003-3437

    Legal Services

    Sunflower Management
    418 Elm St Raleigh NC 27601

    1600 N Oak St Apt 11 Arlington VA 22209

    2417 Northfield Rd Charlottesville VA 22901-1727
    WAGE Rebecca Slutzky


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