Last week, Connecticut 's Citizens Election Program (CEP) was declared unconstitutional by U.S. District Court Judge Stefan Underhill . This week, his decision was being appealed by the state.
Ruling that “that the CEP imposes an unconstitutional, discriminatory burden on minor party candidates,” the judge said “the operation and enforcement of the CEP must be permanently enjoined.”
Under Connecticut 's public campaign financing program, participating candidates receive money from the CEP to fund their campaigns after they reach a certain threshold from smaller individual donations. While the CEP has been used for state legislative elections, it had not yet been used for the election of statewide office-holders.
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal disagreed with the judge's decision and is appealing the ruling. The judge subsequently granted a temporary stay of his decision to shut down the CEP.
The temporary stay keeps the current law and CEP alive during the scheduling of the expedited appeal. State officials indicated it is likely that the stay will be extended beyond its initial two-week period and could mean the CEP will be available to candidates during the 2010 election cycle.
For now, the future of the CEP is in the hands of the 2nd District Court of Appeals. However, the General Assembly could reconvene to re-work the legislation and address Underhill's constitutional concerns. Time will tell whether or not the CEP will continue in Connecticut .
For more information, contact CBIA at 860-244-1900.