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Malloy Wants More Moolah: CT Gov Looks for Ways to Circumvent Campaign Rules

NEWS ALERT: Buried under the news about the massive problems facing Connecticut's State budget and other developments and issues that have surfaced over the past couple of weeks is one of the most significant news stories of Governor Malloy's term.

The truth is that after having run as a "pro-campaign finance reform" candidate, Dannel "Dan" Malloy has spent the last three years systematically undermining Connecticut's landmark campaign finance reform system.

Since taking office, Malloy has pushed through a series of changes that have turned Connecticut's stellar campaign finance reform law into little more than a joke.

At Malloy's direction, new loopholes have been created so that Malloy's political operation can raise millions of dollars from state contractors, big donors, lobbyists and others who were prohibited or limited from giving  campaign donations when Connecticut adopted the country's premier campaign finance reform law.

Connecticut's law was adopted after former Governor John Rowland went to prison and legislators finally admitted that it was time for a whole-scale change in the way campaigns were financed in Connecticut.

But massive loopholes weren't enough for Malloy and his political operation.

The Democratic Governors Association recently announced that it was suing the state of Connecticut.

Why?

Because Connecticut law requires that independent expenditures MUST BE independent of the candidate that they are supporting. Hence, "independent."

But the Democratic Governors Association, a political action committee that is expected to spend $3 million to $5 million in support of Malloy's re-election this year wants to "coordinate" its "independent" campaign in support of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy with Malloy's political campaign.

Coordination under current Connecticut law is illegal.

Yet rather than try and change that law through Connecticut's legislative process, the Democratic Governors Association has gone to court to try and have the court strike down the law that they can "coordinate" their "independent" expenditure with Malloy.

Who is the Democratic Governors Association?

The Democratic Governors Association is, "...an independent voluntary political organization organized to support Democratic governors and candidates across the nation...The DGA is proud to support the 22 Democratic governors who hold office now."

Governor Malloy has been extremely member of the Democratic Governors Association and he is sponsoring an upcoming major fundraiser in Greenwich so that they can fill the DGA's campaign account with money.

And what does Malloy, the former supporter of campaign finance reform, think of the Democratic Governors Association legal action to undermine Connecticut law?

As CT News Junkie reported in their article entitled, Malloy Says DGA Responded 'Appropriately':

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Friday the Democratic Governors Association's recent legal action against state election regulators is an appropriate response to what it sees as a misinterpretation of Connecticut campaign finance laws.

"I'm not weighing in on the lawsuit. It is important that the laws be enforced and that the right laws be enforced in the right way. In this case [the DGA] feels that there is a misinterpretation of the law. So they've responded, I think appropriately but, you know, I hope for a swift decision," Malloy said when asked about the complaint.

Malloy, who is seeking reelection this year, has been a fundraiser for the DGA and member since winning his election in 2010 and the group is seeking to spend money to help his reelection bid. It filed a preemptive lawsuit in federal court Wednesday contesting the State Elections Enforcement Commission's interpretation Connecticut's campaign finance rules.

What does this all really mean?

Just take a look at what good government and watch-dog organizations like Common Cause, CCAG and the League of Women Voters are saying about the Democratic Governors Association attempt to support Malloy's re-election campaign.

From Common Cause:

The Democratic Governors Association (DGA) filed suit in federal court yesterday against Connecticut's State Election Enforcement Commission alleging that Connecticut's strong campaign finance laws interfere with their First Amendment right to spend millions of dollars in so-called "independent expenditures" in the 2014 gubernatorial race.

An independent expenditure, in elections in the United States, is a political campaign communication that expressly advocates the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate that is not made in cooperation, consultation or concert with or at the request or suggestion of a candidate.

The problem for the DGA is that Governor Dannel Malloy raised more than $20 million for them in 2011 and at least $1.4 million of that came from Connecticut donors. So if the DGA spends millions on behalf of Malloy when he runs for Governor, can they say with a straight face that these expenditures are "independent?" Of course not! Coordination between a candidate and an organization making Independent Expenditures is illegal in Connecticut. The DGA claims that this violates their right to free speech. What?

The DGA does not have a First Amendment right to break campaign finance laws.

Governor Malloy has been a champion of campaign finance reform and credited Connecticut's landmark Citizens' Election program for helping him have clean resources to commpete against a millionaire in the 2010 primary and a millionaire in the general election.

Call Governor Malloy today at 1-800-406-1527 and tell him to ask the DGA to drop their lawsuit!

P.S. Want to know more? Check out "When Independent Expenditures Aren't" on Common Blog!

From CCAG (Connecticut Citizen Action Group):

Money should not be more important than democracy. The Democratic Governors Association should be ashamed of their effort to undermine the clean elections system and our strong campaign finance laws in Connecticut.

Last week the Democratic Governor's Association filed a lawsuit on behalf of consultants to eviscerate CT's laws making it illegal for independent expenditure to be coordinated with campaigns. This lawsuit, if successful, will allow the Koch Brothers and their consultants to coordinate making existing campaign finance restrictions obsolete. Please, sign the petition, help us deliver a strong message to Governor Shumlin.

SIGN THE PETITION!

The DGA must withdraw its lawsuit against Connecticut's Independent Expenditure Campaign Finance Rules.  We must not allow the Koch Brothers to continue to spread political corruption with their billions.  Thank you for your help.

From the Connecticut League of Women Voters:

Important News for LWVCT Members

On April 23rd the Democratic Governor's Association (DGA) filed a lawsuit against the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) claiming that our state's campaign finance laws infringe upon their free speech rights "...to advocate for the election or defeat of Connecticut candidates for Governor..." The DGA is seeking an injunction to bar the SEEC from enforcing campaign finance rules. Governor Malloy is a member of the DGA and during his term as finance chair in 2011 raised a reported $20 million dollars for the Association.

LWVCT urges the State Election Enforcement Commission and the CT Attorney General to vigorously defend our state's campaign finance laws and SEEC rules regulating independent expenditures in political campaigns. We regret that this lawsuit forces the SEEC to devote limited staff resources for monitoring and enforcement instead to defending in court our valuable campaign disclosure and transparency measures.

In recent election cycles, nonprofits and other organizations have been utilized to influence election outcomes through media spots and other advertisements intended to qualify as "independent expenditures." The League of Women Voters of Connecticut believes that the CT campaign finance laws and the SEEC rulings are necessary to increase disclosure of independent expenditure activity and to enable the electorate to make informed decisions regarding candidates for state level offices. For more info on what's at stake, click here.

The fact is, when it comes to campaign finance reform, Malloy is a fraud.

Originally posted in Jon Pelto's Wait What?

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