Fasano: Pay-to-Play Has Seeped Back into Connecticut; GOP to Again Press for Campaign Finance Reforms

July 15, 2014

As businesses navigate around Connecticut laws banning employees of some companies from giving to candidates for state office, State Senator Len Fasano (R-34) Senate Minority Leader Pro Tempore, today announced that Republicans plan to once again propose a package of legislative reforms to close loopholes in the state’s election laws.

“Companies doing business with the State of Connecticut are skirting state law,” Fasano said. “The pay-to-play culture has seeped back into Connecticut. Our state campaign finance laws are a mockery, and Republicans will again submit a comprehensive proposal to sew up these loopholes. Clean elections and fairness will continue to be our priority.”

This year, legislative Republicans joined with Fasano in proposing legislation to ban state contractors from donating not just to the state’s political parties, but to the parties’ federal accounts as well. The bill failed to gain traction with the Democrat majorities in the General Assembly, so Republicans offered an amendment that would have capped those contributions at $100. The amendment was struck down on a party line vote.

“In a matter of years, Connecticut has gone from championing fair campaign financing to touting a weak system strewn with loopholes,” Fasano said.

In 2013, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy pushed through changes to the campaign finance laws which opened the doors to ‘dark’ money. By increasing individual contribution limits and allowing certain organizations to make unlimited expenditures on behalf of candidates, the law was modified to allowed special interest money into campaigns. The changes also allowed organizations to support candidates through coordinated negative campaigning targeting an opponent. The result: more money, more mudslinging and more special interests in Connecticut politics.

“It is frustrating to see what has happened to our fractured election laws,” Fasano said. “If we want to save our system from future threats, we have to keep financing clean and honest – that is the only way to play fair. When the legislative session re-convenes, campaign finance reform will continue to be at the top of the Republican agenda.”