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National Groups to Gov. Malloy: Fully Fund Citizens’ Election Program

June 23, 2017 | Laura Friedenbach

22 Groups Call on Program to Be Funded Ahead of Budget Deadline

With the June 30th deadline to pass a budget looming, 22 national pro-democracy organizations with over 30 million members are delivering a letter to Gov. Dannel Malloy encouraging him to hold his ground on fully funding the popular and successful Citizens’ Election Program. The letter is being delivered to Gov. Malloy’s office in Hartford and to the Democratic Governor’s Association, where he is chairman, in Washington, D.C.

“Connecticut is a leader in how to have open and accountable elections because of the Citizens’ Election Program,” said David Donnelly, president and CEO of Every Voice who helped hand deliver the letter to Gov. Malloy’s office at the Democratic Governor’s Association. “Any cuts to the program in next year’s budget would threaten to take Connecticut back to the ‘Corrupticut’ days and unravel the Citizens’ Election’s ability to limit lobbyist and special interest power in state politics.”

Donnelly and Wendy Fields, executive director of the Democracy Initiative, hand delivered the letter to Gov. Malloy’s office at the Democratic Governor’s Association.

“Gov. Malloy has been a long-time supporter and the only governor elected using the Citizens’ Election Program, and this large coalition of groups is here to remind him that we are counting on him to make sure it’s fully funded for years to come,” said Cheri Quickmire, executive director of Common Cause Connecticut. “Our state has become a national leader in creating a political system that works for everyday people, and we should not stop now.”

According to the letter:

“As you and your colleagues in the legislature know, the program has reduced the power of lobbyists in Hartford. The Citizens’ Elections Program has allowed candidates to spend less time dialing for dollars from wealthy special interests. It has made politicians in the state more accountable to the people they are elected to represent—their constituents. With expansion of the bottle bill and collection of escheats—bills previously blocked because of the power of special interests in the state—the system has been cost-effective too.  

“There are difficult choices that must be made regarding the budget this year, but safeguarding the integrity of our state’s elections is not one of them. Defunding this program just 17 months before the next election will give wealthy interests more influence in Connecticut elections and make it harder for regular people to be heard. We’re counting on you to fight to fully fund this program in the state budget.”

In their budget proposal, Republicans in the legislature called for the program to be defunded entirely. Gov. Malloy’s proposal did not.

The letter signers include many organizations who worked with leaders in Connecticut to pass the legislation in 2005, including Brennan Center for Justice, Campaign Legal Center, Common Cause, Communication Workers of America, Democracy Initiative, Democracy Matters, Democracy 21, Demos, End Citizens United, Every Voice, Free Speech for People, Friends of the Earth, Issue One, Latino Victory Project, League of Women Voters of the United States, Mayday, People For the American Way, Public Citizen, Represent Us, The Rootstrikers project at Demand Progress, Sierra Club, and U.S. PIRG.

The full letter is available online at: http://bit.ly/2t2zEEC

Video of the letter being delivered to Malloy’s DGA office is available at: https://www.facebook.com/everyvoice.org/videos/1452903974755400/

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Every Voice is a national organization fighting for a democracy that works for everyone.