The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Rachel Myers, ACLU national, (212) 549-2689 or 2666;
Patrick Doyle, ACLU of Connecticut, (860) 247-9823 x213; 

ACLU In Court Tomorrow Challenging Unconstitutional Connecticut Campaign Finance Law

Law Unfairly Discriminates Against Minor Party Candidates And Chills Political Speech


American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Connecticut will be in
federal court tomorrow to argue that Connecticut's campaign finance law
unconstitutionally discriminates against minor party candidates and
violates their free speech and free association rights. The ACLU filed
a lawsuit challenging the law on behalf of the Green and Libertarian
Parties of Connecticut and several individuals in July 2006.

"Connecticut's campaign finance law
imposes two different sets of rules for major and minor party
candidates, making it very easy for major party candidates to qualify
for public funding while at the same time making it substantially more
difficult for minor party candidates," said Mark Lopez, a cooperating
attorney with the ACLU. "While we are all for laws that make it
possible for more people to participate in the democratic process,
Connecticut's misguided campaign finance law actually does the opposite
by making minor party candidates jump through hoops to get funding and
squelching their political speech."

According to the ACLU's lawsuit,
public financing will change the dynamics of elections in Connecticut
by arbitrarily making it easier for major party candidates to run for
office while making it exceedingly difficult for minor party candidates
to qualify for public financing.

The ACLU's complaint is available online at:

Arguments in Green Party of Connecticut v. Garfield, a case challenging the constitutionality of Connecticut's "Citizens' Elections Program" campaign finance laws

ACLU cooperating attorney Mark Lopez
of the New York law firm Lewis, Clifton & Nikolaidis, P.C., Mark
Ladov of the ACLU First Amendment Working Group and David McGuire of
the ACLU of Connecticut will argue the case in front of Judge Stefan
Underhill. The lawsuit was filed against Jeffrey Garfield, Executive
Director and General Counsel of the Connecticut Elections Enforcement
Commission, and Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, on
behalf of the Green Party of Connecticut, the Libertarian Party of
Connecticut, S. Michael DeRosa, Elizabeth Gallo and Joanne Philips.

Tuesday, December 9, 9:00 a.m. EST

U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut
915 Lafayette Boulevard
Bridgeport, CT 06604

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

(212) 549-2666