Democrats Can’t Have It Both Ways on Campaign Finance Reform

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  • Scott Swenson
Gov. Malloy Should Champion Connecticut’s Model Clean Elections Law by Demanding His Party Withdraw Its Frivolous Lawsuit

If you listen to the Democratic Party’s presidential contenders and congressional leaders, it is clear they are in alignment with the vast majority of Americans who support genuine campaign finance reform and overturning Citizens United. But in a state with a successful Clean Elections law that many point to as a model for the country, the Connecticut State Democratic Party continues to sue the State Elections and Enforcement Commission, filing a new request for a judge to issue a declaratory judgment this week, after an as yet unresolved suit failed to get the state Democratic Party what it wants.

Gov. Dannel Malloy (D-CT) is about to become Chair of the Democratic Governor’s Association, a perfect opportunity, said Miles Rapoport, president of Common Cause and former Connecticut Secretary of State, “to use his national platform to showcase Connecticut Clean Elections success. Gov. Malloy must demand his party withdraw this anti-democratic lawsuit.” Rapoport added, “Gov. Malloy should demonstrate to the nation there are workable solutions to address the problem of money’s influence in our politics.”

One thing is certain, campaign finance reform is not a partisan issue. It’s about power, and how the people hold power accountable. Many reform advocates, including Common Cause, recently called on candidates seeking both party’s presidential nomination to follow a reform platform called, Fighting Big Money, Empowering People: A 21st Century Democracy Reform Agenda.

Karen Hobert Flynn, Senior Vice President at Common Cause and a Connecticut resident who was instrumental in passing the Clean Elections Law said, “Money is about access to power and the ability to influence power – no matter which party is in control. Connecticut passed one of the strongest campaign finance laws in the country after a major pay-to-play corruption scandal,” Hobert-Flynn said. “Now Connecticut’s Democratic Party is engaged in a cynical effort to undermine a law that restored people’s confidence in state government, remains popular, and is a model reform for the nation at the very moment Americans are looking for solutions to the problem of money in politics,” she said.

Gov. Malloy has a choice to make. He can use his state’s model law to align himself and his party with the vast majority of American voters by demanding his state party drop the lawsuit, or he can be just another politician who says one thing, but does another, and undermine his party’s presidential nominee from being taken seriously on this issue by trying to have it both ways.

For more information in Connecticut, contact Cheri Quickmire, Executive Director for Common Cause Connecticut, 860-549-1220.

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