Governor M. Jodi Rell today announced, in an effort to preserve the state’s clean election program, she has shared with legislative leaders her draft of campaign finance legislation that she would sign into law. Her proposal repeals sections of the Citizen Election Program a federal court has deemed unconstitutional and preserves public financing of elections.
The Governor vetoed legislation last week that while attempting to address the constitutional issues also significantly increased the public grant spending from $3 million to $6 million for gubernatorial candidates. Rell made it absolutely clear to the General Assembly how committed she is to act swiftly and without reservation when she said, “It is therefore my intention, because I believe so strongly in this program and in safeguarding the progress that we have made in removing the taint of corruption from our electoral process, to call the legislature into special session if you do not either override my veto or take other action to address the concerns of the court.”
The Governor’s legislation includes provisions that would:
- Repeal the unconstitutional provisions, including supplemental grants that the federal court ruled burdened the free speech of non-participating candidates;
- Enact a true severability clause instead of a reversionary clause, therefore preserving the rest of the law;
- Allow for $100 contributions from lobbyists but does not permit such contributions to count as “qualifying” contributions for public financing; and
- Immediately restrict from whom lobbyists and state contractors can solicit contributions. Lobbyists cannot solicit from their clients and state contractors are banned from soliciting from their employees and subcontractors.