The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Lisa Gilbert, Democracy Advocate
202-546-9707 (o)

US PIRG: Statement on the Connecticut Clean Elections Decision


On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Stefan Underhill ruled a
portion of Connecticut's Citizens' Election Program unconstitutional.

Lisa Gilbert, U.S. Public
Interest Research Group's Democracy Advocate
commented, "the law
enacted in the aftermath of some of the biggest scandals in Connecticut
history; if this decision stands it could turn back the clock on corruption in
the state."

Caucus Chair, Rep. John Larson of Connecticut, said, "This groundbreaking
electoral system restored confidence in Connecticut's electoral process."

motion to stay the decision until the appeal process is completed was filed by
Connecticut's Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal.

Connecticut Citizens' Election Program was enacted in 2005 and went into
effect last year, where an impressive 81% of the members elected to the state
legislature in the state's first general election used the system.

the federal level, Rep. Larson has introduced legislation modeled on the
successful clean money systems in his state and others. The bi-partisan Fair Elections Now Act
has 77 co-sponsors, including every member of Connecticut's Delegation to the
U.S. House of Representatives.

Fair Elections Now Act, an important step to end corruption, does not include
the "trigger" mechanism that Judge Underhill called into question in
his ruling.

stated "The Fair Elections Now Act, like Connecticut's fair elections
system, would help end politician's dependence on big dollar donors and
allow members of Congress to spend more time working with constituents and on
the hot-button issues of the day."

U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), stands up to powerful special interests on behalf of the American public, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being. With a strong network of researchers, advocates, organizers and students in state capitols across the country, we take on the special interests on issues, such as product safety,political corruption, prescription drugs and voting rights,where these interests stand in the way of reform and progress.