Connecticut Democrats Buck Reform Trend, Propose Suspending Clean Elections in 2016
- Scott Swenson, Dale Eisman
Common Cause: CT Democrats Favor Big Money Special Interests Over People
Washington, DC — Proving that neither major party is pure when it comes to reducing the influence of money in politics, leaders of the Connecticut Democratic Party today proposed “suspending” that state’s model Clean Elections law in which 74 percent of candidates running for office participated during the 2014 election. The proposed suspension for 2016 comes on the heels of law suits filed by the Connecticut State Democratic Party that also seek to undermine the landmark legislation.
“Connecticut Democrats are snatching defeat from the jaws of victory with their latest attempt to undermine Connecticut’s wildly popular Clean Elections law,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause senior vice president. “The people decided they wanted to pay for Clean Elections up front, and save money in the long run when compared to the cost of favors written into tax laws, special exemptions, and pay-to-play contracts for wealthy special interests that have a far higher, and hidden, cost to consumers and voters,” she said.
“Make no mistake, we all pay the price when we turn government over to lobbyists and wealthy special interests. At a time when upwards of 90 percent of voters in both major parties say money in politics is a problem, Connecticut Democrats are going backwards toward corruption and the era of John Rowland,” Hobert Flynn said. “Every public servant in Connecticut should be proud of and touting our Clean Election law’s success as a model for the country, but Connecticut Democrats today are more aligned with Sen. Ted Cruz than Sen. Bernie Sanders or Sec. Hillary Clinton,” she said, explaining that all presidential candidates in the Democratic Party are embracing some form of public financing as part of the remedy for Big Money.
Earlier this month the people of Maine pushed back against a Republican Governor who attacked that state’s Clean Elections Law, overwhelmingly voting to restore funding and make other improvements, like stronger disclosure and more resources for candidates to strengthen the law. And Seattle passed a first-in-the-nation voucher program to publicly finance their city elections. Combined these wins, and virtually every national poll, demonstrates the public will support reform efforts and that people who oppose them are on the wrong side of history.
This story has national implications because so many presidential candidates are talking about reducing the influence of money in politics, including Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley, and the model for reform can be found in the Fighting Big Money Agenda.