The Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) released preliminary results of a study today showing that state legislators who accepted taxpayer funds for their campaigns in 2008 did not reduce their pattern of voting with interest groups after the program was implemented. In many cases, lawmakers voted more often with the most powerful lobbying groups in Connecticut.
The Connecticut legislature is examining changes to the Citizens’ Election Program (CEP) after a federal court ruled the program unconstitutional. Backers of the CEP offered several rationales for pushing the program, prominently claiming that the system limited the influence of interest groups.
“The only ‘fix’ that legislators should impose on the Citizens’ Election Program is its dismantling,” said Center for Competitive Politics President Sean Parnell. “Taxpayer financed campaigns have failed to mute the influence of interest groups in Connecticut and research across the spectrum shows that politicians are raising money from the same people as before.”
In the report, “Meet the New Legislature, Same as the Old Legislature,” CCP studied the voting records of 121 state representatives and senators who served in the 2007-2008 legislature, participated in the CEP in 2008, and served in the 2009 legislature. CCP compared their records to the legislative positions of four interest groups; The Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA), Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM), Connecticut Hospital Association, and the Connecticut Association of Health Plans. Each of these groups has ranked among the top ten in lobbying expenditures in the past three years.