Governor Lamont and Lt. Governor Bysiewicz Urge General Assembly to Adopt Legislation Clarifying That Childcare Is a Legitimate Campaign Expense
(HARTFORD, CT) – In response to a decision today by the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) stating that candidates in Connecticut cannot utilize the Citizens Election Program (CEP) to cover childcare costs when running for office, Governor Ned Lamont and Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz are urging the General Assembly to adopt legislation affirming in statute that childcare costs are a permitted campaign expenditure under the program.
“The State of Connecticut has become a national model for the way we run our elections,” said Governor Lamont. “The historic Citizens Election Program that our state created over a decade ago is necessary not only to weed out corrupt influence, but it also provides an opportunity for people from all backgrounds with diverse life experiences to campaign for office. Preventing parents from using these funds to care for their children while they operate a campaign puts a barrier in place that will end up discouraging people from running for office – the exact opposite of what this program was intended to accomplish. We should be doing more to encourage women to run for office, and that is why I am urging the General Assembly to fix this wrong. Send me legislation clearly stating that childcare is a permitted campaign expenditure, and I will sign it into law.”
“Women make up 51 percent of Connecticut’s population but only make up 29 percent of the Connecticut General Assembly,” said Lt. Governor Bysiewicz, who earlier this month filed written comments with the SEEC in support of allowing CEP funds to be used for child care costs associated with campaigning. “While unintended, the current policy has a discriminatory effect against women and caregivers, and is an impediment to public service. The SEEC should have taken the recommendation of the Federal Elections Commission and changed its draft ruling to acknowledge that certain child care expenses do, in fact, directly further a candidate’s campaign for office, consistent with existing law. I am committed to working on legislative changes that will ensure candidates participating in the Citizens Election Program have a level playing field.”
They noted that the Federal Elections Commission permits candidates for federal office to utilize campaign funds to cover certain childcare expenses. In addition, state election commissions in Arkansas, Wisconsin, Texas, and Alabama have all ruled that childcare expenses are a permissible campaign expenditure.