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Hearing Postponed; Democratic Party, Election Regulators to Get Their Day in Court Thursday

by | Oct 27, 2015 5:29am () Comments | Commenting has expired | Share
Posted to: Campaign Finance, Courts, Election 2014, Election Policy, Ethics, Legal, State Capitol, Transparency

(Updated 10:43 a.m.) A state court judge was expected to hear arguments today in a dispute between state election regulators and the Connecticut Democratic Party over whether the party illegally spent money on Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s 2014 re-election bid. However, the hearing was postponed at the last minute when the attorney for the Democratic Party had a family emergency. The hearing has been rescheduled for Thursday at 10:30 a.m.

On the eve of what was supposed to be the start of the hearing, the two sides laid out their arguments one last time in court documents filed Monday.

Attorneys for the State Elections Enforcement Commission say the commission has been prevented from investigating the Democratic Party’s decision to spend federal election funds on several mailers for Malloy. The complaint was filed by the Connecticut Republican Party back in 2014.

The complaint alleges that the federal election account the Democratic Party used included funds from state contractors, who are prohibited from giving to state campaigns. It also alleges “improper coordination between a contributor and state candidate committee and between a state candidate and a federal committee.”

Attorneys for the SEEC say the Democratic Party has attempted to “completely block” its investigation since early 2015. They said the party is using a “relatively inconsequential provision of federal campaign finance law, which regulates a small subset of voter outreach communication in federal elections” to operate “as an impenetrable shield to prevent any state investigation of state party or state candidate conduct whenever invoked by a party.”

If the Democratic Party is allowed to prevail with this argument, every two years when a federal candidate is on the ballot, the SEEC’s authority to regulate contributions to state candidates “will be effortlessly circumvented,” Assistant Attorney General Maura Murphy Osborne wrote in her brief.

The “overbroad preemption argument — that a minor federal campaign finance provision completely prevents the SEEC from investigating at all whether a state candidate running for state office accepted a contribution from a state party committee that was funded by contributions made by state contractors — is stunning, without merit, and premature,” Osborne wrote.

The Democratic Party, who is represented by attorney David Golub, argues that federal election law trumps state election law, which means the state regulators have no standing to investigate.

Golub argues in his brief that federal election law “occupies the field.”

“Consistent with that Congressional intent, the Federal Election Commission has repeatedly specifically held that the FECA [Federal Election Campaign Act] occupies the field with respect to the regulation of Federal election activity,” Golub wrote in his latest brief.

Golub argues the SEEC is preempted from regulating the federal get-out-the-vote activity featured in the mailers and is prohibited from investigating it.

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(5) Archived Comments

posted by: Clean Agent | October 27, 2015  6:57am

Does “Progress” mean, pass the largest tax hike in history because you have to give everyone everything and think you live in Lalaland where money grows on trees, waste money on the bus route to nowhere, plan on wasting $100 million more, drive out businesses because wealthy Republicans own them, cause the state to lose the headquarters to one of the most iconic brands in the nation?

Or does “progress” mean restrict the second amendment rights of citizens in the middle of the night using e-cert when no emergency exists and with no public input like a bunch of communist slimeballs?

Being crashed in a ditch with Tom Foley seems like it would be a really nice place right now. There is no way that Tom Foley would have been worse than Dan Malloy.

The logic of the average CT voter: Wealthy guy from Greenwich with business experience? Nah, we will take the career politician from a bankrupt city. Right? How can you be a good politician if you don’t make it your career? Duh.

posted by: art vandelay | October 27, 2015  7:34am

art vandelay

The Democrat Party will walk away unscathed.  The only way to get to the bottom of this mess would be a full investigation by the FBI. The relationship between the Unions & Democrat Party is so tight, it would take a miracle to unwind it.

posted by: Noteworthy | October 27, 2015  9:48am

That the Democrat Party and Malloy is strenuously working to hide the collusion from state oversight is an in-dice of something really sinister. This is not just about a legal technicality. Meanwhile, not one Demo legislator has said one word.  If one wanted to be transparent, was committed to the rule of law, fair play and abiding by “clean elections,” this case never should have gone to court. Ever. That alone says what Malloy and by their collective silence, Dem legislators believe.

posted by: DrHunterSThompson | October 27, 2015  11:12am

call in sick, go fishing.  who cares?


posted by: Biff Winnetka | October 27, 2015  7:25pm

The beauty of this political ad being resurrected at this particular instant in Connecticut’s drive into the financial ditch is that it so clearly demonstrates how disconnected from reality the Progs are.

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