Legal Center Files in Support Connecticut Agency Proposed Ruling on State’s Campaign Finance Laws

CLC Staff
Feb 6, 2014
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Yesterday, the Campaign Legal Center filed comments with Connecticut’s State Elections Enforcement Commission strongly supporting the agency’s Proposed Declaratory Ruling 2013-02 upholding a variety of state campaign finance laws. The proposed ruling was issued in response to a petition by Perkins Coie, an international law firm, on behalf of clients seeking clarification of the state’s campaign finance laws in the wake of Citizens United and other court decisions.

The clarifications regarded application of the state’s political committee registration and disclosure laws to three types of organizations, as well as Connecticut’s contractor contribution ban. The Legal Center’s comments urge the Election Enforcement Commission to issue the ruling as written and offers legal precedent to assure the state of the constitutionality of the ruling and the laws behind it.

“States across the nation continue to have their regulations called into question in light of the highly controversial Citizens United decision, but Connecticut’s regulations and this proposed ruling are on solid legal footing, ” said Paul S. Ryan, Legal Center Senior Counsel.

The Legal Center’s comments declared the Commission’s analysis “careful and well-reasoned” and summarized the proposed declaratory ruling as follows:

  • Perkins Coie’s contemplated Organization 1, which will not solicit or receive contributions earmarked to make expenditures to influence Connecticut elections, would not be required to register and report as a political committee, id. at 13-14;
  • Perkins Coie’s contemplated Organizations 2 and 3, which will solicit and receive contributions earmarked to make expenditures to influence Connecticut elections, would be required to register and report as political committees, id. at 14-21;
  • In light of recent court decisions “finding that contribution limits to independent expenditure only political committees are unconstitutional, the Commission will not enforce contribution limits” with respect to such committees, including the committees Perkins Coie’s contemplated Organizations 2 and 3 would be required to organize under Connecticut law, id. at 22; and
  • Campaign finance restrictions applicable to state contractors, pursuant to General Statutes § 612(f), remain in full force and effect. Id. at 14, 21.

To read the Legal Center’s full comments, click here.

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