The state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and several minor party candidates said Thursday they filed a federal lawsuit claiming Connecticut's campaign finance law violates the candidates' rights to free speech and association.
Democratic and Republican candidates would qualify for public financing of $25,000 for a House race, $85,000 for a Senate contest and $3 million to seek the governor's office if they meet private fundraising thresholds of $5,000 for a House campaign, $15,000 for a Senate race and $250,000 for governor.
"The Connecticut legislators who drafted this law in the dead of night knew that they were creating a system that would perpetuate two classes of political parties that are separate and unequal," said S. Michael Derosa, a plaintiff in the lawsuit and the Green Party's candidate for secretary of the state. (AP)
How did I know Mike DeRosa would be involved somehow... Sigh.
There's a fine line between encouraging complete equality and opening the door to a whole slew of minor candidates like DeRosa who would, even if fully funded, draw only about 5-10% of the vote: if that.
Yes, the thresholds are a little extreme. They should be lower, or some sort of sliding scale should be introduced (get 10% of the signatures, get 10% of the money). But full equality would just be a funding nightmare. We just couldn't do it.
I have a feeling that this law will be struck down. If so, it may time to look at other ways of leveling the playing field in the state.
"ACLU files lawsuit challenging campaign finance law." Associated Press 6 July, 2006.