Lawmaker wants to eliminate fund that almost beat him
July 14, 2009
State Rep. Corky Mazurek, a Democrat from Wolcott, introduced an amendment to a budget bill last month that would have eliminated the Citizens Election Fund — the pot of cash that pays for public financing of state elections.
His amendment failed, thankfully. But Mr. Mazurek — who was almost defeated in the last election by a challenger who took advantage of the new financing system — says he'll keep trying. If he and like-minded lawmakers succeed, special interest money most certainly will seep back into campaigns. Hello again, Corrupticut.
The public financing law was a hallmark of the ethics changes pushed by Gov. M. Jodi Rell and pro-reform lawmakers (including many of Mr. Mazurek's Democratic colleagues) following the scandals of the Rowland era. Candidates are given grants to run their campaigns if they can privately raise a qualifying amount of small contributions. The money for the fund comes from unclaimed assets and the sale of state property.
The reform has leveled the playing field for candidates, encouraged newcomers to run for office and squeezed corrupting special interest money out of campaigns.
The Citizens Election Fund is a tempting target not only for politicians who oppose the public financing system, but for those searching the budget to help eliminate a huge deficit.
They should leave the Citizens Election Fund alone. It more than pays for itself with its deterrent effect on state government.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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