Thursday, September 29, 2005

Special Session Called

Gov. Rell is calling the legislature back into session next month to work on campaign finance reform. It isn't too much to say that this is probably their last shot:

A tentative bill being offered by Rell would include a system for publicly funding campaigns in Connecticut. It also would impose immediate bans on campaign contributions from lobbyists, state contractors and their political action committees.

Candidates also would be barred from using lobbyists, state contractors and their political action committees to solicit donations. (AP)

We'll see if the legislators and their leaders can overcome their reservations and pass a workable bill. I hope so. If campaign finance reform isn't passed now, it may not get a chance again for a long time.

"Rell Calls Legislators Into Special Session." Associated Press 29 September, 2005.


FrankS said...

With the challenges to Vermont's law now being heard by the Supreme Court, it is unlikely that any actions will be taken. Rell's wasting peoples time and money, showboating on the issue.

Anonymous said...

Rell has never been in favor of campaign finance, this is all about political gimmicks. She was a part of the worst organized criminal institution in the state history and stood silent. Now she's the vanguard for ethics reform? No thanks. I don't trust her motives here.

The real reason is that she does not want to have to raise money for her 2006 race, she'd rather it come from the taxpayers.

And once those same special interests begin donating to her campaign, it's going to be hard for her to remain 'pure.'

Chris MC said...

Rell's position hasn't changed, from what we've seen so far. And if that is the case, then this is DOA - which was the whole point of her maneuver in the first place.

Her objective at this stage is to promulgate the image of having the moral high ground, and point her finger at the Democrats for not passing her bill.

She doesn't know much about leading the state, but she sure learned what Rowland had to teach about manipulating the process.

Aldon Hynes said...

Let’s give Rell the benefit of the doubt for a little and look at the underlying issues. The proposed framework immediately bans contributions from lobbyists and state contractors as well as bans them from making solicitations. It also immediately bans ad books.

However, it doesn’t start providing public financing until 2008 for legislative elections and 2010 for statewide elections. People are saying this is more advantageous to Republicans in the short term and a wash in the long term since people can always opt out of public financing. There is also the concern about whether it will stand up in court.

One upside is that it will permit public financing of municipal elections.

Since people are saying it will be more beneficial to Republicans, there is a good that it will die the way other efforts have and Rell will maintain the high ground while preventing public financing of elections.

I haven’t looked closely at the framework, so I’m not sure whether this is really a good framework or not, but I sure hope we can get meaningful campaign finance reform through.

Genghis Conn said...

Well... if Democrats want to avoid the finger-shaking and Rell's taking the high ground from them (again), they could just pass the bill. If Rell vetoes it, they take the high ground.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who thinks campaign finance reform is a good idea should be glad the special session is being called....the issue will die unless acted upon soon.

Dave said...

The issue will never be addressed completely as long as the people who benefit from it ( Rell, the General Assembly and the Senate) are in charge of it. All this special session does is give Rell the high ground and put the Democrats in a box. They should repass the billl she vetoed, as has been suggested. And why is no one talking about the campaign for governor that Rell is already running. It is the original taxpayer financed campaign. All she has to do is not announce she is running and she can use the office of the governor to do all the political posturing she wants. And she is. I do not believe that no one is calling her on it. CT Attorney General Suemethal should do something about it. Or is he benefitting from that system, also. The law as it is written and proposed by the governor will allow the incumbent a bigger advantage, because at i year out no one covers a challenger and everyone covers the governor

Anonymous said...

I only hope it comes to a vote and that we can see who supported it and who is against it.

Aldon Hynes said...

I'm going to pull a line from the Dean 2004 campaign to take another view on this. While I hope that campaign finance reform gets rigorously debated and a bill and perhaps even many amendments get publicly voted on, there is another thing we can and should be doing.

One of the reasons that contractors and lobbyists have such a great effect on politics through their contributions is that very few people contribute to campaigns.

Granted a lot of us can't write $2,500 checks, but a lot of us can write $5 checks.

If you believe in public financing of campaigns, start today. This is the last day of the third quarter. Everyone is scrambling for donations. Of course I work for Mayor DeStefano and I hope you will contribute to his campaign.

However, if you believe Dan Malloy will do more to bring about campaign finance reform that you should contribute to his campaign.

Or find other campaigns that you think are deserving. We can all do our part to help increase funding of campaigns by ordinary people.

Dave Mooney said...

That's a good point, Aldon. Many people don't understand the costs associated with running for offices, but lobbiests and contracters certainly understand. Running for the State House costs at least $25k for direct mail printing and postage, phone lines, lawn signs and other expenses. The Republican candidate for Mayor of Stratford has so far spent about $50k just to win 38% of the vote in the Republican primary. My candidate, Jim Miron, spent about $20-25k to win the Democratic primary. He, like most candidates, will have to spend hours every day calling people asking for donations so he can compete in the general election. (plug: If anyone is compelled to contribute to his campaign, you can go to his website at and donate.) The best thing to come from this reform will be that candidates don't have to spend some much damn time dialing for dollars. The good ones would much rather spend their time talking about the issues with their constituents. This is certainly true for Jim and I'm sure it is true for Mayors DeStefano and Malloy as well.