SEEC approves public grants of $2,187,500 for Malloy

The State Elections Enforcement Commission today approved the first public-financing grants to a statewide candidate: nearly $2.2 million for Dan Malloy, the endorsed Democratic candidate for governor.

“Congratulations to the Malloy campaign,” said Stephen F. Cashman, the commission chairman. “And a first for the commission, as well.”

The commission approved a $1.25 million grant for Malloy to wage a primary, plus a supplemental grant of $937,500 to match spending or fundraising by his Democratic challenger, Ned Lamont.

Under the Citizens’ Election Program created in 2005, Malloy is entitled to a basic grant of $1.25 million and matching grants up to another $1.25 million based on Lamont’s fundraising or spending. In coming weeks, Malloy is likely to receive another grant of $312,500.

To pay Malloy the basic grant of $1.25 million, the commission had to certify that he has raised $250,000 in qualifying contributions of no more than $100. He reported reaching that threshold a month ago.

Lt. Gov. Michael C. Fedele, who is challenging the endorsed Republican, Tom Foley, for the GOP nomination, is the only other candidate for governor seeking public financing.

Fedele filed papers this week committing to an Aug. 10 primary, but he has yet to raise the $250,000 in qualifying contributions. Fedele only had raised $122,000 by March 31, according to his last disclosure report. He has until mid-July to qualify for public financing.

The elections commission today approved an advisory opinion that would allow Fedele and his running mate, Mark Boughton, to pool their qualifying contributions. If they did, Boughton would have to rely on Fedele’s campaign for funding during his own primary for lieutenant governor.

Boughton, who had raised $42,005 for his own gubernatorial campaign by the end of March, has to raise $75,000 to qualify for $375,000 in public financing for a primary for lieutenant governor with Lisa Wilson-Foley, a businesswoman also seeking the nomination..

The money Boughton raised as a candidate for governor cannot be applied to the $75,000.

“We have to start from scratch. We don’t know if it’s doable,” said Boughton, who is considering opting out of the public financing program.

Nancy Wyman, who is the endorsed Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, and her challenger, Mary Glassman, both are seeking public financing.

Glassman is allied with Lamont, who has opted out of the voluntary Citizens’ Election Program. In an advisory opinion, the commission said today that Lamont and Glassman can make joint expenditures, but that each campaign must pay its share.

Lamont’s campaign disclosed Friday that he has exceeded the $1.5 million funding limit for a gubernatorial primary by 150 percent, triggering the supplemental grant awarded today to Malloy.

Lamont has raised more than $2.25 million, including $1.85 million he contributed to his own campaign.

If Malloy wins the Democratic primary, he will receive a general-election grant of $3 million and supplemental grants of as much as another $3 million, depending on his Republican opponent’s spending.