Senator Kane Votes Against Increasing Public Funding For Political Campaigns

May 26, 2010

Calls For Spending “Extra” Money On Food Pantries

Senator Rob Kane (R-32) voted against doubling the amount of public money given to gubernatorial candidates in response to a federal court’s ruling regarding Connecticut’s campaign finance reform law.

“Instead of giving candidates for Governor an additional $3 million in public money to run their campaigns, we ought to do the ethically and socially responsible thing and use that money to stock the state’s food pantries. We know that Connecticut’s food pantries are struggling to meet the demand of people who need help to put food on their tables. Using the money we have in the Citizens’ Election Program fund to double the amount of public money we are giving gubernatorial candidates to run their campaigns in the face of this glaring need is just wrong,” said Senator Kane.

Last week, Senator Kane joined other Republican Senators in voting against legislation passed by the General Assembly in response to several concerns about the legality of the state’s campaign finance reform law. Among other things, the legislation successfully championed by the legislature’s Democratic majority “fixes” the portion of the state’s campaign finance law that provided for additional supplemental grants to candidates based upon either the excess expenditures of their opponents, or independent expenditures made against them by outside interests. Under the newly passed legislation, the “triggers” are replaced by grants automatically doubling the amount of public money given to each gubernatorial candidate who participates in the Citizens’ Election Program. Instead of $3 million in public funds, each participating gubernatorial candidate who qualifies for public financing will receive $6 million from the state’s election fund.

“Before we even met in special session, Governor Rell rightfully said she would veto any ‘fix’ that called for giving more public money to political candidates. I look forward to reading her veto message,” said Senator Kane.

Republican Senators offered several amendments intended to counter various provisions of the proposed ‘fix’ championed by the General Assembly’s Democratic majority. Among those was an amendment offered by Senator Kane that would have transferred the additional public money to be given gubernatorial candidates to the Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) operated by the state Department of Social Services.

“Instead of spending more public money on political campaigns, we could have given it to SNAP to help the people who rely on the 300 food pantries, soup kitchens and emergency shelters that benefit from this program. I was pretty disappointed when the Senate rejected this amendment along party lines. There is a lot wrong with the bill we passed to fix a public financing program that, frankly, I do not think we should have in the first place. But voting to double the public financing for gubernatorial candidates instead of helping food pantries bothered me the most,” said Senator Kane.

“While I do not like the CEP because I disapprove of using taxpayer dollars to fund campaigns, I participate because these are the rules we are under,” said Senator Kane, adding that he was not a legislator when the program was adopted in 2005 and would have voted against it.