State Senator Michael McLachlan Applauds U.S. District Court Ruling Calling Citizens’ Election Program Unconstitutional

August 28, 2009

Calls on Legislature to Return Money to State’s General Fund Immediately

Hartford, CT – State Senator Michael McLachlan (R-24) today applauded the ruling made by U.S. District Court Judge Stefan Underhill calling the Citizens’ Election Program (CEP) unconstitutional. The CEP was established in an effort to place candidates seeking state office on equal financial footing by providing public campaign funding. As of today, the Citizens Election Fund (CEF) has a balance of $42 million. Under current law, the fund is scheduled to receive $15 million in FY 2010 and an additional $15 million in FY 2011. It is funded through the sale of abandoned property.

“This ruling is a victory for the taxpayers of Connecticut,” said Senator McLachlan. “Public dollars should never have been allowed to be spent on campaign buttons and lawn signs, but especially in this economic climate, we must take a very close look at where our money is being spent.”

In order for the money to be released from the CEF and returned to the State of Connecticut, the General Assembly must take action. Ranking Members of the General Assembly’s Government Administration & Elections Committee, Senator McLachlan and Representative John Hetherington (R-125) sent a letter today to the co-chairs, Senator Gayle Slossberg (D-14) and Representative James Spallone (D-36), requesting an open informational meeting to educate members of the legislature on the court’s ruling and the appropriate process for returning the money.

“The fund, while well-intentioned, is neither financially feasible nor fair. It chips away at the First Amendment rights of third party candidates by putting them at a competitive disadvantage and making it harder for them to qualify while at the same time financially favoring major party candidates,” said Senator McLachlan. “It is now up to the General Assembly to act and return this money to the state’s General Fund. I hope we do so as soon as possible.”

Senator McLachlan represents the 24th District communities of Danbury, Bethel, New Fairfield and Sherman. His press secretary is Rachel Reese. She may be reached at 860.240.8865 or via email at [email protected].