THOMAS C. FOLEY et al. v. STATE ELECTIONS ENFORCEMENT COMMISSION et al., SC 18646
Judicial District of Hartford
Campaign Funding; Whether the Trial Court Properly Denied the Plaintiffs' Application for a Temporary Injunction; Whether the Trial Court Correctly Construed Several Provisions of Connecticut's Campaign Finance Reform Law. The plaintiffs, Thomas C. Foley, who is the endorsed Republican candidate for governor, and his campaign committee brought this action for a declaratory judgment and an injunction barring the defendant, the State Elections Enforcement Commission, from approving the release of funds to the Fedele 2010 Joint Gubernatorial Campaign Committee (Fedele joint campaign) and barring the Fedele joint campaign from expending any funds received. The Fedele joint campaign was formed, pursuant to General Statutes § 9-709, by Michael C. Fedele, who will be challenging Foley in the Republican gubernatorial primary next month, and Mark Boughton, the endorsed Republican candidate for lieutenant governor. The plaintiffs claim that the Fedele joint campaign is not entitled to assistance from the Citizens' Election Program (CEP), which is part of a legislative scheme that provides financial grants to qualified candidates and was adopted by the legislature to prevent actual and perceived corruption in state elections. The plaintiffs point to several violations of the statutes that govern eligibility for CEP grants and supplemental funding. In connection with the suit, the plaintiffs applied for a temporary injunction. The trial court denied the application on finding that the plaintiffs are unlikely to prevail on the merits. It rejected all of the plaintiffs' claims, namely, that (1) General Statutes § 9-709 (a) prohibits a party-endorsed candidate for lieutenant governor from forming a joint campaign committee with a candidate for governor who has not been endorsed by a party; (2) General Statutes § 9-704, which provides that candidates for governor must receive at least $250,000 in qualifying contributions to be eligible for grants, prohibits a candidate for governor who forms a joint campaign committee with a candidate for lieutenant governor from counting individual qualifying contributions from the lieutenant governor's campaign toward his own contribution requirement; and (3) General Statutes § 9-713, which governs supplemental matching grants to candidates participating in the CEP, prohibits such grants if they are based on funds received or expended before the party convention by an opposing, nonparticipating candidate. The plaintiffs have appealed, pursuant to General Statutes § 52-265a, the denial of their application for a temporary injunction. On the same day that the trial court issued its ruling, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit released a decision in Green Party of Connecticut v. Garfield, Nos. 09-3760-cv (L), 09-3941-cv (CON) (2d Cir. 7/13/10), in which it held that the supplemental matching fund provision of § 9-713 was unconstitutional. In light of that decision, the Supreme Court has ordered that the parties address in their briefs the impact, if any, of the Second Circuit's ruling on this appeal.