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Malloy On DGA Lawsuit: Go Ask A Lawyer

by Christine Stuart | Jun 11, 2014 1:14pm
(13) Comments | Commenting has expired

Christine Stuart photo

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy at the YMCA in Meriden on Wednesday

(Updated 6:39 p.m.) Gov. Dannel P. Malloy did his best Wednesday to brush off questions about a federal judge’s decision dismissing parts of the Democratic Governors Association lawsuit against the state.

Malloy, who raised money for the DGA and benefited from about $1.7 million in advertising from the DGA for his 2010 campaign, said he’s not investing any time “on this particular subject matter.”

“I’ll take a bye on getting into this any further,” Malloy told reporters. “The DGA thought they were doing the right thing bringing the action. The judge thinks at the current time that they don’t have standing and, quite frankly, go to a lawyer and get a good explanation.”

Malloy became the DGA’s finance chair in 2011 and helped it raise $20 million that year. His tenure as finance chair has since concluded, but he remains an active member of the group which by all accounts had planned to spend money on Malloy’s re-election campaign this year.

As a publicly financed candidate, the maximum amount Malloy will receive for his race is $6.5 million. All of the Republican gubernatorial candidates have also promised to use the public financing system. But each of the candidates could also receive a boost in funds from outside groups like the DGA and PACs, as long as those groups don’t coordinate their message or spending with the candidate.

In what is expected to be a tight gubernatorial election year, every penny could make the difference.

Malloy said the DGA took the action against the State Elections Enforcement Commission to better understand how the law would be applied. He said he hasn’t read Tuesday’s decision and referred questions about the lawsuit to the DGA.

A spokeswoman for the DGA said Wednesday that they are still reviewing the decision. It later issued a statement saying it was pleased with the decision.

“Throughout this process, we’ve said that our intent is not to undermine the state’s campaign finance law,” Democratic Governors Association Communications Director Danny Kanner said in a statement. “With this ruling, we’ve received the clarification we have been seeking, and the law remains intact. For those reasons, we will not be appealing the decision.”

U.S. District Court Judge Janet Hall concluded Tuesday that a plain language reading of the law showed that even if a candidate had solicited money for an organization in the past, it wouldn’t necessarily force election regulators to conclude there was coordination between the candidate and the organization.

Hall sided with the state and concluded that the DGA’s fear that the state would accuse it of illegal coordination with the Malloy campaign was unfounded since the law was not based solely on the statutory scheme and didn’t force the state to reach that conclusion.

“We’re very pleased with the court’s ruling, which allows us to continue to enforce the law that the legislature passed,” Michael Brandi, executive director and general counsel of the SEEC, said.

He said the ruling is of particular importance in upholding Connecticut’s public financing system, in which candidates voluntarily forego contributions from special interests. The maximum amount a candidate can receive is $100.

An adverse ruling by the court could have hobbled the SEEC’s ability to enforce such restrictions, especially the making of coordinated expenditures by outside groups to support clean election candidates, according to the SEEC.

The public financing program is in its fourth full year of operation statewide. Despite changes to the program in 2013 that allowed the two major political parties to raise more money and use unlimited amounts to promote its candidates, the SEEC believes the program is still “a barrier to corruption in Connecticut campaigns.”

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(13) Comments

posted by: GBear423 | June 11, 2014  3:08pm

GBear423

awe, he is a testy lil guy when he doesn’t get his meeeeellions of dollars!

Question: where do the funds come from that go into the “Public Financing” piggy Bank?  Do the Political Parties contribute to this fund? Should they?

Also, I have always wondered why there can not be a set amount of debates and Candidate Profiles on a Public Television Channel. Allow candidates to present a 30 Minute Pitch and air it on PBS. rather have that than the endless waves of Political commercials.

posted by: Christine Stuart | June 11, 2014  4:13pm

Christine Stuart

The money for the Citizens’ Election Program comes from the sale of abandoned state property.

posted by: Sarah Darer Littman | June 11, 2014  4:35pm

“go to a lawyer and get a good explanation.”

Um…isn’t Malloy a graduate of Boston College Law School? In other words..a lawyer?

posted by: DrHunterSThompson | June 11, 2014  4:55pm

DrHunterSThompson

And I for some reason thought he was a lawyer. Hmmm, perhaps I’ve enjoyed one to many fatties?

HST

posted by: NoNonsense2014 | June 11, 2014  5:07pm

@Christine Stuart: I have wondered, too, where the money for the Citizens Election Program come from. Thanks for providing the answer.

posted by: sharewhut | June 11, 2014  5:21pm

@ Christine, I’m presuming you mean the state’s sale of abandoned property, not the state selling it’s own unused property (which would be selling surplus, not abandoned, property)?

posted by: Christine Stuart | June 11, 2014  6:47pm

Christine Stuart

Correct, the sale of abandoned property, not surplus property.

posted by: Common Sense | June 11, 2014  7:54pm

Every lawyer has to be a good actor on their stage (court). Malloy is a better accomplished actor than he is a governor, for which he gets no oscar.

posted by: Tim McKee | June 11, 2014  8:01pm

Malloy does not deserve reelection, and this is a great example of the lack of leadership!
Vote Pelto!!

posted by: Commuter | June 11, 2014  8:07pm

It is a bit troubling that Sarah Darer Littman is both a member of this site’s editorial board and indulges in snarky comments on stuff she didn’t write.

posted by: dano860 | June 11, 2014  10:01pm

We can’t expect that he would sign a law that wouldn’t work in his favor do we?
After all he is a lawyer, right?

posted by: jim black | June 12, 2014  9:17am

Go Pelto!!!!!

posted by: William Jenkins | June 12, 2014  10:39am

The state doesn’t “sell” and “abandoned property” it’s actually called “unclaimed property.” The only thing in the fund that is used to finance campaigns is money that is required to be sent to the state when the owner cannot be found.  One example is an insurance company owes someone a refund on a policy.  The insurance company can’t locate the individual so they are required to send the money to the state and it sits in the unclaimed property fund. Here’s a link to what they call the “big list:”
http://www.ctbiglist.com/ The State Treasurer puts this list with people’s names on it saying they have some money owed to them.  If they never claim it eventually this money used to go into the general fund however the law allows the SEEC to raid that fund to fund political campaigns.  To say that the CEP is NOT “taxpayer funded” is misleading because if the money wasn’t used to fund campaigns, it would essentially go back to the taxpayers be eventually being deposited into the general fund.