All four Connecticut Senate candidates sign “Voters First Pledge”

Rick Bielke, Public Campaign Action Fund, (202) 293-0222

Andy Sauer, Common Cause Connecticut, (860) 539-6846

Robert Yule, Public Citizen, (202) 588-7703

All four Connecticut Senate candidates sign “Voters First Pledge”

Hartford – In an early demonstration of widespread political support for cleaning up Congress during an election year marked by scandal, three national watchdog groups announced today that all four U.S. Senate candidates in Connecticut – U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, Democrat; Ned Lamont, Democrat; Alan Schlesinger, Republican; and Ralph Ferrucci, Green – have signed the Voters First Pledge.

The Voters First Pledge was mailed in mid-June to every federal candidate registered with the Federal Elections Commission. Signatories pledge to support a federal Clean Elections public financing system which is similar to the one passed by the Connecticut General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Jodi Rell (R) in December 2005. Candidates signing the pledge also promise to support meaningful new restrictions on gifts and travel funding provided by lobbyists and to full internet disclosure of lobbyists’ contributions and fundraising for members of Congress. The entire pledge is available online and follows this press release as text.

State and national reform leaders praised the candidates and urged others in Connecticut and around the nation to follow suit.

“Joe Lieberman, Ned Lamont, Alan Schlesinger and Ralph Ferrucci ought to be thanked for signing the Voters First Pledge,” said Andy Sauer, executive director of Common Cause Connecticut. “Scandals have rocked both Connecticut and Washington, and we’re hoping that all congressional candidates in Connecticut – and around the country – sign this important compact with the voters.”

“These four candidates are showing strong leadership, which is sorely lacking from the current political leaders in Congress,” said Nick Nyhart, executive director of Public Campaign Action Fund, and a resident of Connecticut. “Voters in Connecticut know they will be sending a senator to Washington in 2006 who has pledged to support a Clean Elections system that would make fundraising more transparent and restore accountability.”

The comments were echoed by Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen: “With this pledge, we are putting congressional candidates on the record that they will tackle the ethics and lobbying abuses that are seriously undermining public faith in the integrity of our democracy. These four Connecticut U.S. Senate candidates may be the first ones to be announced, but they are far from the last.”

Today’s announcement was the first from Public Campaign Action Fund, Common Cause and Public Citizen regarding candidates who have signed and returned the pledge, just one week before the nationally significant primary in Connecticut between Lieberman and Lamont.

The groups plan to periodically release the names of signers – and those who refused to sign – starting later in August.


The Voters First Pledge

It’s time to Clean Up Congress.

By signing below, I pledge to put voters before lobbyists by supporting legislation to:

1. Make Elections Fair. Establish and enforce campaign spending limits by providing a set amount of public funding for all candidates who agree to take no private contributions.

2. Restore Accountability. Pass and enforce meaningful new restrictions on gifts and travel from lobbyists and other powerful interests for members of Congress.

3. Protect Voters’ Right-To-Know. Require full disclosure on the internet of all lobbyists’ contributions and any fundraising help members of Congress get from lobbyists.