Protect the Citizens’ Election Program: There is No Going Back to the Wild West

Statement of Karen Hobert Flynn, President of Common Cause

The landmark Citizens’ Election Program represents the most comprehensive and successful effort to remove special interest money from the political system undertaken by any state in U.S. history. Since the launch of the program, Connecticut has made enormous progress, transforming Connecticut from an example of rampant wrongdoing after years of scandal or “Corrupticut,” to a national model.  It is not an overstatement to say that Americans across the nation look to our state as a model for the future of democracy.

Despite the program’s overwhelming success and positive national impact–with a majority of candidates participating in the program–a new proposal threatens the Citizens’ Election Program.  Common Cause urges legislators to fight back against any threats to Connecticut’s model program created to address corruption and self-interest by lawmakers and give Americans a real voice in policymaking.

It took one of the worst episodes in Connecticut’s political history, with a governor who went to jail, to push lawmakers to enact the Citizens’ Election Program in 2005.  Common Cause led the effort, working with Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell and a Democratically led House and Senate to give us the Citizens’ Election Program in 2005.  The overwhelming success of the Citizens’ Election Program has proven that these programs can work in our state and across the nation.

With the Citizens’ Election Program, Connecticut lawmakers returned to voters the authority to determine who will represent them in government.  This is critically important at a time when public corruption scandals are rocking our nation.   The last thing we can do in Connecticut is go backwards and allow special interests to dictate policy.  The citizens of Connecticut have reclaimed our government, and there is no going back.