With the 2014 election in the rearview mirror, the legislature’s Government Administration and Elections Committee in the coming session will look to address some of the issues raised during this year’s campaigns and at the polls. The 2014 election was the first test of Connecticut’s campaign finance laws as they were modified by the legislature in 2013, when lawmakers reacted to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision by easing limitations on the amount of money political parties could raise and contribute to candidates using the public financing system. Rep. Ed Jutila, one of the committee’s co-chairman, said he was wary of those changes to begin with. “Now, looking back after an election cycle with those changes, I think we need to revisit them. I think we may have over-reacted,” he said. The new rules allowed the state Democratic Party to spend $207,000 on senator-elect Ted Kennedy Jr.’s public-financed campaign.
Jutila said he is also interested in looking at another aspect of campaign finance law that allowed the party to spend money from its federal campaign account to pay for mailers in support of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s re-election.
Republicans tried unsuccessfully to get a court to stop Democrats from using the federal money, noting that state contractors donate to the party’s federal account. Democrats argued the mailer could be funded by the federal account because it contained voting instructions and a phone number for rides to a polling place. They were operating under an interpretation of the statutory language that allowed the use of federal account money for get-out-the-vote mailers.
“It’s something I want the committee to consider this session,” Jutila said. “Where it seems to be the intent of the federal law that those funds be used in a certain way to promote the candidacies of federal candidates or general get-out-the-vote efforts, there may be a need to clarify exactly what that means because it’s not clear to everyone and it’s not clear to me, to be honest.”
Full Article: CT News Junkie | Lawmakers Plan To Tackle Election Reform.