Government Administration and Elections Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-5589

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM.

Vote Date:

3/27/2017

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable

PH Date:

3/6/2017

File No.:

577

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Government Administration and Elections Committee

Rep. Joe Aresimowicz, 30th Dist.

Rep. Matthew Ritter, 1st Dist.

Rep. Patricia A. Dillon, 92nd Dist.

Rep.Bob Godfrey, 110th Dist.

Rep. Joseph C. Serra, 33rd Dist.

Rep. Kevin Ryan, 139th Dist.

Rep. Linda A. Orange, 48th Dist.

Rep. Diana S.Urban, 43rd Dist.

Rep. Jeffrey J. Berger, 73rd Dist.

Rep. Linda M. Gentile, 104th Dist.

Rep. John “Jack” F. Hennessy, 127th Dist.

Rep. Russell A. Morin, 28th Dist.

Rep. Bruce V. Morris, 140th Dist.

Rep. Jason Rojas, 9th Dist.

Rep. Susan M. Johnson, 49th Dist.

Rep. Matthew Lesser, 100th Dist.

Rep.Ezequiel Santiago, 130th Dist.

Rep. David A. Baram, 15th Dist.

Rep. Daniel S. Rovero, 51st Dist.

Rep. Gregory Haddad, 54th Dist.

Rep. Roland Lemar, 96th Dist.

Rep. Kim Rose,118th Dist.

Rep. James M. Albis, 99th Dist.

Rep. Charlie L. Stallworth, 126th Dist.

Rep. Edwin Vargas, 6th Dist.

Rep. Emmett D. Riley, 46th Dist.

Rep. Hilda E. Santiago, 84th Dist.

Rep. Michael D'Agostino, 91st Dist.

Rep. David Arconti, 109th Dist.

Rep. Cristin McCarthy Vahey, 133rd Dist.

Rep. Terry B. Adams, 146th Dist.

Rep. Steven J. Stafstrom, 129th Dist.

Rep. Joseph P. Gresko,121st Dist.

Rep. Michael Winkler, 56th Dist.

Rep. Josh Elliott, 88th Dist.

Rep. Liz Linehan,103rd Dist.

Rep. Michael A. DiMassa,116th Dist.

Rep. Mary M. Mushinsky ,85th Dist.

Rep. Christopher Rossario, 128th Dist.

Rep. Gerald C. Reyes, 75th Dist.

Rep. Brandon L. McGee,5th Dist.

Rep. Patricia Billie Miller, 145th Dist.

Rep. Kathleen M. MccCarty,38th Dist.

Rep. Chris Perone, 137th Dist.

Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, 136th Dist.

REASONS FOR BILL:

This bill aims to modify laws effecting campaign finance and elections. Passage of this bill would:

Create a category of spenders “coordinated spenders” defining their expenditures which would be subject to campaign finance reporting limits

Codify political action committees (PAC) requiring them to register with State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC)

Prohibit persons from accepting covered transfers of more than $70,000 during each calendar year

Expand the disclosure requirements for covered transfers

Requires the governing boards of certain CT entities to vote to pre-authorize any disbursements of more than $4,000 for campaign related disbursements

Prohibits foreign-influenced entities for making covered transfers

Expands the political advertising disclaimer requirements for entities to include messaging from the CEO or equivalent

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

None expressed

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Speaker of the House, Joe Aresimowicz submitted testimony in support of the bill explained that the bill is a priority for the House Democratic caucus, as seen by the number of co-sponsors. Aresimowicz went on to point out that the adoption of the strongest disclosure measures possible to find out exactly who is working to elect or defeat candidates. Aresimowicz stated that the full disclosure of donors to 501 and 527 organizations would require them to stand behind their ads in the way political candidates must. Just as voters are entitled to disclosure of donors and expenditures, shareholders are entitled to know how their investments are being spent politically.

Jim Redman, Campaign Finance Specialist for the League of Women Voters in CT submitted testimony in strong support of the bill explaining that the league is in favor of any provision that works towards the goal of full disclosure and simplifies its enforcement.

Tom Swan, Executive Director of the Connecticut Citizen Action Group submitted testimony in support of the bill explaining that the most recent election cycle saw a significant increase of so called independent expenditures in legislative races. We should expect to see an increase in spending from all angles going forward and the public has the right to know where the money is coming from.

Martin Mador, Legislative Co-Chair, Sierra Club- Hartford Chapter submitted testimony in support of the bill because it would require additional disclosure of sources of funds used for independent expenditures. The corrosive effects of money on politics is something

Christy D'Aquila of Simsbury: submitted testimony in support of the bill but noting how numerous and complicated the amount of bills pertaining to this information are to the layperson. D'Aquila explained that money must remain available for grassroots candidates in our state but money from big business should be curtailed.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Suzanne Bates, Policy Director, Yankee Institute for Public Policy submitted testimony expressing concern with the bill. Bates explained that this bill would make it even more difficult for individuals to get involved in the political process and instead we should focus on increasing civic engagement. Bates noted that CT has the most stringent campaign finance laws in the country and this particular law aims to make it more complicated for individual citizens to get involved in the political process. Bates also expressed concerns over the bill compromising donor privacy.

Reported by: Jamie Hobart

Date: 417/2017