Democratic Party Moves To Dismiss State GOP’s “Federal Account” Lawsuit

The Democratic Party of Connecticut filed a motion today asking the Superior Court to dismiss the state GOP’s lawsuit challenging the Democratic Party’s use of money from its “federal account” to pay for a mailer largely supporting Governor Malloy’s reelection campaign.  The Republican Party contends that the use of funds from the federal account violates the state law prohibition against state contractors contributing to candidates for state office. (State contractors can contribute to the federal account under state law.)  The Democratic Party contends that contractor funds are segregated and were not used in connection with the mailer.

The memorandum of law in support of the motion to dismiss argues that the lawsuit should be dismissed on several different grounds:

  • The law does not provide for a private party, such as the Republican Party, to file a lawsuit to enforce state campaign finance laws.  Rather, only the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) has the legal authority to bring an enforcement action;
  • The Republican Party has failed to exhaust its administrative remedies through the SEEC; and
  • Federal law preempts the Republican Party’s state law claims.

The Dan Malloy for Governor Candidate Committee is also a defendant in the lawsuit and filed its own motion to dismiss, as well as a memorandum of law.  The arguments are largely the same as those set forth in the Democratic Party’s papers.

I’ll post the Republican Party’s response to the motions to dismiss once it is filed.  (Click here for the electronic docket of the case, which contains links to all documents on file.)

UPDATE (8:08 pm):  Wow. That was fast. The GOP has already filed its opposition to the motions to dismiss.  In short, the GOP contends that it does have legal standing to sue for declaratory and injunctive relief (as opposed to money damages), and that exhausting administrative remedies would be futile and inadequate in this case.

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