News Published: Jan 21, 2010 - 11:35 PM

The State Elections Enforcement Commission reacts to the United States Supreme Court’s ruling

By State Elections Enforcement Commission

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With the Supreme Court’s decision today in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, the five justice majority overturned several bedrock principles of national campaign finance laws – some of which had served as settled federal precedent for a century.

Because the Court’s analysis centered on a federal statute, its impact on Connecticut’s campaign finance statutes is unclear.

But one thing is crystal clear: efforts to create public campaign financing programs, such as the one created in Connecticut in 2005, are vital to maintain the legitimacy and viability of the American democratic process.

In fact, many campaign finance experts have hailed public financing programs such as Connecticut’s Citizens’ Election Program, which relies on small contributions from individual donors as well as public grant monies, as model reforms to counteract the influence that corporate and union money could have over elected officials in the aftermath of the Citizens United decision.

Al Lenge, Executive Director and General Counsel echoed the sentiments of other campaign finance advocates.

“This is a critical time for democracy. This decision has the potential to flood the state electoral process with corporate money. The only solution lies in strengthening the Citizens’ Election Program,” Lenge stated, referring to the state’s voluntary public campaign financing system which has been under fire recently.

“As the general public realizes the potentially disastrous consequences of the Supreme Court’s decision Connecticut will be heralded as a model of reform and our candidates will be placed in the spotlight for participating in a system that eliminates special interests as a funding source for campaigns.”

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