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HARTFORD, CT – On Tuesday, U.S. PIRG and state affiliate ConnPIRG called on Connecticut lawmakers to withdrawal proposals cutting funding for the state’s Citizens’ Election Program. Designed to combat the influence of big money in politics, the program provides public campaign funds to qualifying candidates who demonstrate broad support from small donors. ConnPIRG initiated a statewide effort to mobilize constituents against the proposed rollback.
“Coast-to-coast, voters are calling for election reform that reduces the influence of special interests in our democracy,” said Dan Smith, Democracy Campaign Director for U.S. PIRG. “Meanwhile, Connecticut lawmakers have reversed course. Eliminating funds for a clean election program is a short sighted budgeting gimmick that’s going to hurt Connecticut’s government in the long run. You can’t balance the budget by cutting good government, it just doesn’t add up.”
The proposed cuts to Connecticut’s Citizens’ Election Program come 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.
“Connecticut’s clean election law gives candidates in our state a chance to prioritize constituents over big donors and special interest groups," said Evan Preston, Director of ConnPIRG. “The people of Connecticut 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, not just deep-pocketed special interests. Cutting the Citizens’ Election Program moves Connecticut in the exact opposite direction.”
ConnPIRG has organized staff and volunteers across the state to talk with constituents about proposed cuts to the Citizens’ Election Program and mobilize opposition to the proposal.
On Tuesday, Connecticut’s bipartisan State Elections Enforcement Commission issued a joint resolution opposing proposed changes to the states’ clean elections program. In addition to U.S. PIRG and ConnPIRG, election reform advocates Common Cause and Connecticut Citizen Action Group are mobilizing constituents to oppose the proposed cuts.
# # #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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