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Letter: Greenwich's Floren Says Campaign Finance Not For The Faint-Hearted

State Rep. Livvy Floren is calling for campaign finance reform in Connecticut.
State Rep. Livvy Floren is calling for campaign finance reform in Connecticut. Photo Credit: contributed

GREENWICH, Conn. -- The Greenwich Daily Voice accepts signed letters to the editor. Send signed letters under 350 words to Greenwich@dailyvoice.com. State Rep. Livvy Floren represents Greenwich and Stamford.

To the editor:

After witnessing a primary season of dirty politics and divisiveness, bombast and blasphemy, lies and libel, negativity and nastiness, anger and animosity -- all paid for with millions of dollars from anonymous donors to PACs and Super PACs, I think we can, and we must, do better.

In order to mitigate the magnitude of felonies that earned our State the name "Corrupticut," the Citizens Election Program and sweeping new campaign laws were enacted in 2005. For more than a decade, the program was working well and accomplishing the goals of taking special interest money out of the process and increasing accountability and civility in the electoral process.

Then, along came the Citizens United Supreme Court decision ... and everything changed. In my opinion, campaign finance needs to be completely revisited and retooled. Entirely too much money is being frittered away on banners, ball caps, badges and bumper stickers. Super PACs are contributing millions of dollars with impunity, not even disclosing the names of donors, along with money from lobbyists and contractors who do business with the state.

To add insult to judicial injury, there was a scheme to entirely suspend the Citizens Election Program for 2016 in a feeble attempt to help close the budget deficit. Fortunately, this proposal was summarily rejected.

Some reforms I would like to see going forward are:

  • shortening the timeline for campaigns,
  • decreasing the grant amounts,
  • lowering the amount of allowable individual contributions to less than $100,
  • outlawing ad books,
  • prohibiting unlimited organizational expenditures by state central committees, and
  • increasing disclosure information requirements.

In other words, identify and plug the most awful and obvious loopholes. These are viable, cost effective, commonsense measures that will go a long way toward ensuring that our state continues to be "the land of steady habits" -- where elected officials serve with both hands on the tiller and not in the till.

State Rep. Livvy Floren

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