GREENWICH, Conn. -- State Reps. Mike Bocchino (R-150) and Fred Camillo (R-151) joined fellow Republican lawmakers in keeping their legislative promise from earlier this year, when they pushed through a proposal Thursday that closes loopholes in campaign finance laws and cleans up the way money is spent during the election cycle.
The proposal passed 134 to 12. State Rep. Richard Smith (R-108), the ranking GOP representative on the General Administration and Elections Committee, introduced the proposal on the House floor as an amendment to smaller municipal campaign bill. The measure, Smith said, would save taxpayer dollars, help restore voters’ trust in the publicly-funded election system and would curb dirty money.
“The citizens of this state deserve clean, transparent elections that are free of loop holes. One of the reasons why some public officials are looked upon so unfavorably is because of the way their elections are conducted. With this change, the citizens of this state will see clean, fair elections,” said Camillo.
“Taxpayers in this state deserve to have their state funded elections free from loop holes and special interest groups. 2014 was a perfect example of why these reforms are so necessary. This new law will bring more transparency to our state’s election and will save the state money,” said Bocchino.
Among other things, the Republican proposal caps organizational expenditures by state political parties, reduces individual donor limits to state political parties from $10,000 to $5,000; eliminates grants to unopposed candidates; bars state contractors from donating to a federal account to fund a state race; and reduces all publicly-funded Citizens Election Program (CEP) grants by 25 percent – an expense that cost Connecticut taxpayers $33.4 million in 326 publicly funded campaigns in 2014.
The spending reduction would save taxpayers $7 million in a gubernatorial election year and $2.4 million in presidential cycles.
The CEP, which funds gubernatorial and state Senate and House races, is a public finance program that awards candidates with campaign funding after hitting a specific private contribution threshold. Since 2008, the 1,185 taxpayer-funded CEP campaigns have cost $80.7 million, according to the nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis.
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