Malloy Guts Last Remnants of ‘Clean Campaign Laws’October 7, 2014
Republicans Call on Elections Enforcement to Intercede
HARTFORD – In a brazen move one month before the elections, Gov. Malloy wants to flout the campaign finance laws he touted by tapping into the millions in federal campaign donations raised from state contractors he enriched with sweet heart deals, banned lobbyists, and PACS he promised to bar, to underwrite his and state Senate and House races.
Republicans called the attempt to get federal officials beholden to a Democratic administration to sign off on using federal donations for state races “outrageous.”
“From the first day Dan Malloy stepped into the race in 2010 when Democrats gave their nominee a $3 million in taxpayer money for winning the primary, until now – one month before the election – they have been gaming their cherished ‘clean campaign’ system,” House Republican Leader Larry Cafero said. “It is the height of hypocrisy to say you are raising money for a federal PAC and at the last minute try to divert that money into local state races because the Democrats need the cash.”
Cafero asked, “Where are the ‘good government’ groups now?” He called upon the State Elections Enforcement Commission to enforce the contract all lawmakers who use taxpayer funds to the fullest extent of the law.
Senator Minority Leader John McKinney of Fairfield said, “The very people who championed our clean elections laws now want to undermine it when it doesn’t suit their needs. This tactic amounts to an end around the SEEC which would eliminate the ban on state contractors from giving to campaigns. The officials at our SEEC do an excellent job fighting to preserve clean elections and should not be intimidated.”
Last year, Gov. Malloy and legislative Democrats made swiss cheese out Connecticut’s once-model campaign finance system. Our laws are filled with loopholes now. They are a sad joke. With an election four weeks away, no one should be surprised that Gov. Malloy is pushing to exploit the very laws he changed.”
Democrats hired a Washington, D.C. law firm to ask the Federal Elections Commission whether a Malloy mailer can be paid for out of their federal account. Further, the Democrats want to use the funds to pay for state Senate and House race activities.
Malloy has insisted his nation-wide fundraising efforts on behalf of the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) were for the state’s federal political action committee fund to be used solely for federal candidates. The state contractors, lobbyists and PACS are specifically barred from giving to state races under the laws Democrats pushed for. Scores of the restricted donors have given to the federal account and many wrote the maximum $10,000 checks.
“Gov. Malloy traveled the country raising money from state contractors and others through the DGA for the federal accounts because state law prevents that money going to state races. Clearly, his intentions were otherwise,” Cafero said. “Every time it was disclosed they were soliciting state contractors or political friends, they claimed to be abiding by the laws they re-wrote. Now, they can no longer lay claim to even that pathetic falsehood.”
McKinney added, “Gov. Malloy desperately wants to stay in power. Taxpayers can see through this. They can follow the money and can see that the ‘pay-to-play’ culture has returned to Connecticut. Fixing the fractures in our campaign finance laws will continue to be at the top of the Republican agenda in 2015.”
A brief history of Democratic “campaign finance reform:”
- Three days after Malloy beat self-financing candidate Ned Malloy in the 2010 primary the House and Senate Democrats voted in lockstep to give Malloy a $3 million increase for the general election and have taxpayers pick up the tab. Had Lamont won, they never would have considered the move.
- The Democrats doubled the maximum donation for federal accounts to $10,000 in a sweeping “campaign finance reform bill.’’
- Democrats, with the assistance of Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, attempted to take the top ballot line from Republicans in 2012. The GOP succeeded in retaining the top line only after appealing to the Supreme Court.
- Democrats drafted a bill to eliminate the Independent Party because they feared Republicans would gain the cross endorsement as Linda McMahon and others had. The move failed.
- The State Elections Enforcement Commission called the solicitation by Northeast Utility executive Thomas May of his colleagues on behalf of Malloy’s re-election – May urged them to write checks to the federal PAC – “egregious.’’