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Chris MacKenzie,
U.S. PIRG

CT Lawmakers Drop Cuts to Clean Election Program Following Public Backlash

For Immediate Release

HARTFORD, CT – On Thursday, Connecticut lawmakers dropped budget proposals that would eliminate the state’s Citizens’ Election Program. Designed to combat the influence of big money in politics, the Citizens’ Election Program provides public campaign funds to qualifying candidates who demonstrate broad public support. U.S. PIRG and state affiliate ConnPIRG called on state lawmakers to drop the proposed cuts and mobilized constituents to oppose the program’s elimination.

“Across the country, American voters are speaking up for democracy,” said Dan Smith, Democracy Campaign Director for U.S. PIRG.  “In Maine, in Seattle, and now in Connecticut, constituents have mobilized to protect and strengthen clean election programs that prioritize regular people over special interests and mega-donors. On both sides of the aisle, voters are ready for reform and they’re taking a stand against politics as usual.”

The proposed cuts to Connecticut’s Citizens’ Election Program came only two weeks after major clean election victories in Maine and Seattle. U.S. PIRG helped to mobilize voters in both areas to pass ballot initiatives enacting small donor empowerment programs that reduce the influence of large donors and special interest groups.

“From New Haven to Mansfield, our organizers and volunteers are talking with constituents who want a democracy powered by regular voters,” said Evan Preston, Director of ConnPIRG. “While Connecticut lawmakers have dropped proposals to cut the Citizens’ Election Program, our work to mobilize constituents in support clean elections is far from over. People here have made it clear that they want to move toward getting special interest money out of politics and provide a platform for candidates supported by small donors.”

After Connecticut lawmakers announced proposals to cut the Citizens’ Election Program earlier in the week, ConnPIRG mobilized constituents statewide to call and email their legislators. In addition to ConnPIRG, election reform advocates Common Cause, Connecticut Citizen Action Group, and Connecticut Working Families helped to mobilize opposition to the proposed cuts.

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U.S. PIRG, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, is a consumer group that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society.

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