Campaign Finance Reform – Connecticut

Date: 1 Dec 2008 | posted in: governance | 1 Facebooktwitterredditmail

In the wake of numerous high-profile state and municipal campaign scandals, the Connecticut legislature, in 2005, established the Citizens Election Program and corresponding Citizen Election Fund to publicly finance statewide elections. In 2006, the law was amended to correct flaws that added an unnecessary step for minority party candidates.

A candidate voluntarily participating in the program must first collect a specific number of small contributions to qualify for state funding. The candidate is then eligible for grants depending on the party (major/minor) and financing status(participant of program/no-participant) of the candidate’s opposition. Additional grants are also available for primary campaigns and if a non-participating opponent spends in excess of the candidate.

InSeptember 2007, the citizen’s election program saw its first implementation in a special election for House District 113.  The program will be available to state senate and representative candidates in 2008, and open to all state races in 2010.

In 2008, the first full year of operation, more than three-quarters of General Assembly candidates participated in the Citizens’ Election Program.  Compared to the first year statistics of other public financing programs, that number is astounding. For reference, in their first election seasons, Arizona and Maine, the only two states with comparable public financing programs, garnered participation rates of one-quarter and one-third of eligible candidates, respectively.


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