Contact: Andrew Ammirati
March 29, 2012
Legislation championed by state Senator Gayle Slossberg (D-Milford) that responds to the Citizens United case by strengthening Connecticut’s already tough campaign finance laws moved one step closer to passage today.
The Government Administration and Elections Committee, which is co-chaired by Sen. Slossberg, voted out Senate Bill 5528, An Act Concerning Changes to the Public Financing Act and Other Election Laws. The bill now goes for a vote in the House and Senate.
“With this legislation, we will have some of the strongest disclosure laws in the country,” Senator Slossberg said. “The message here is, ‘Own your speech.’ We want voters to be informed about who is spending money to influence elections and how much. This legislation attempts to bring campaign spending into the light.”
When the U.S. Supreme Court opened the floodgates to unlimited campaign contributions from corporations in the 2010 case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Connecticut responded swiftly by creating legislation to set disclosure rules for independent expenditures.
The new legislation strengthens those rules, requiring disclosure of donors who make significant contributions for campaign purposes. It also states that if corporate and organizational entities are going to participate in campaign communications and advertising, they must be very clear about who is paying for the ad. Also under the legislation, corporations will be required to inform their shareholders about their political activities and spending.
In testimony submitted to the GAE committee, Karen Hobert Flynn, vice president for state operations of Common Cause, spoke in favor of strengthening disclosure requirements.
“Common Cause supports this proposal which adopts comprehensive new disclosure requirements that will provide for prompt public disclosure of campaign-related spending by corporations and other covered organizations,” Flynn stated in the testimony.
Cheryl Dunson, president of the League of Women Voters of Connecticut, testified in favor of new requirements for corporations to inform shareholders about campaign spending.
“In other words, this provision gives the shareholders the knowledge and the power to authorize or vote down spending relating to Connecticut’s elections,” Dunson stated in her testimony.
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