“ With action at today’s meeting, the State Elections Enforcement Commission has awarded grants from the Citizens’ Election Fund to gubernatorial candidate committees running in both major parties.
By a unanimous vote, commissioners awarded a grant of $1.25 million to the combined candidate committee of Michael Fedele and Mark Boughton, who are seeking the Republican nominations for governor and lieutenant governor respectively. Last month, the commission awarded a grant to “Dan Malloy for Governor,” the candidate committee for Dan Malloy, who seeks the Democratic Party’s nomination for governor.
“We are thrilled that gubernatorial candidate committees from both sides of the political aisle have opted to run campaigns relying on public financing,” said Al Lenge, the Commission’s Executive Director and General Counsel. “This only further illustrates the fact that the issues of campaign finance reform and clean elections transcend political divisiveness.
Removing special interest money from politics is not the province of one political party. This issue crosses political boundaries.” Both Fedele and Malloy face candidates who have injected large sums of their personal wealth into their
In his April 10th periodic report, Fedele’s opponent, Tom Foley, reported that he had raised more than $2.4 million for his candidate committee. Because of that fact, the commission also awarded a supplemental grant to the Fedele/Boughton campaign of $937,500. Fedele and Boughton announced that they were running a joint campaign as allowed under Connecticut General Statutes section 9-709. As a combined committee, the candidates will receive a single grant, which can be used to benefit both candidates.
“Candidates Fedele and Boughton opted to combine their campaigns, as specifically allowed under Connecticut’s campaign finance statutes,” said Beth Rotman, the Commission’s director of public financing. “The Citizens’ Election Program gives the candidates some latitude in how they want to run and finance their campaigns, while still remaining within the public finance program.”
The commission issued an advisory opinion last month that laid out the process that candidates should follow when
considering whether to run joint campaigns. It included certifying to the commission that they intend to run a single
campaign. Commissioner Cashman noted that he believes that the “advisory opinion as written specifically contemplates the procedure and is consistent with the statute.”
In addition to the grant to the Fedele/Boughton campaign, the commission also approved grants to “Merrill for Secretary of the State,” and 12 other General Assembly candidates. In total, the Commission has awarded grants to 45 candidates for general assembly and to 4 statewide committees.
Here’s the news release from the Fedele campaign:
“Lt. Governor Michael Fedele, Republican candidate for Governor and Mayor Mark Boughton, candidate for Lt. Governor today announced that their campaign has been approved by the State Elections Enforcement Commission for the Clean Elections Program. The approval means the Fedele/Boughton campaign will receive $2.1 million in campaign funds for the Republican primary on August 10th and — depending on the spending of Fedele’s self-funding opponents — a possible supplemental grant of $317,000.
“The people of Connecticut have stated repeatedly they want special interest influence out of politics,” Fedele said. “The Clean Elections Program provides a level playing field and ensures that campaigns in Connecticut can be waged with grassroots support, not just with a personal checkbook or a few friends in high places.”
“Qualifying for the clean elections program means our campaign will now have the resources to compete with our wealthy self-funding opponents in the primary and against whoever emerges as the Democrat standard-bearer in August,” Fedele said. “We look forward to taking our message of fiscal conservatism and accountable and transparent government to the electorate”
“Mike and I are both humbled by the outpouring of grassroots support that has helped us reach this historic landmark for Republican campaign’s in Connecticut.” said Boughton. “With our fundraising effort completed, we are excited to dedicate all our time and energy to listening to and learning from Connecticut voters who are eager for reform.”
Fedele is the first statewide Republican candidate to reach the goal since the program was enacted. The CEP has strict donation and expenditure limits excluding lobbyists, state contractors and donations exceeding $100. The CEP requires gubernatorial candidates to raise $250,000 in small dollar contributions, in order to demonstrate widespread individual support and to eliminate the influence of wealthy special interests.
The Fedele-Boughton team received qualifying small dollar contributions from nearly 3,000 individuals, averaging just over $80 per contribution. Under the CEP a candidate who qualifies is eligible for up to $8.5 million in funding. The campaign reached this landmark in just over 6 months of fundraising.”