The Republican Governors Association contributed $800,000 Friday to a super PAC backing Republican Tom Foley, while two national public-employee unions put up $1.15 million to back Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, the first-term Democratic incumbent, according to filings late Friday night with the State Elections Enforcement Commission.
The RGA money went to Grow Connecticut, a PAC formed and run by Republicans with ties to Foley, while American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees and AFT Solidarity gave to Connecticut Forward, an affiliate of the Democratic Governors Association.
With two months until Election Day, the GOP governor’s group already has invested $1.5 million in the Connecticut race for governor, just $100,000 short of the total the association spent on the 2010 race here, which also featured Foley and Malloy.
The unions’ cash brings Connecticut Forward’s fundraising total to $2.4 million. In 2010, the DGA’s total spending here was $1.78 million. AFSCME and AFT are the two largest public-empl0yee unions in Connecticut.
The influx of cash will allow the two independent-expenditure groups to keep flooding the airwaves with attacks ads.
Connecticut Forward and Grow Connecticut are “527s,” political organizations formed under Section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code to make independent expenditures. Commonly called super PACS, they are permitted to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections — as long as they do not coordinate with the candidates they are trying to elect.
In the filings late Friday night, Connecticut Forward reported $900,000 from AFSCME and $250,000 from AFT.
As participants in the state’s system of publicly financing campaigns, Foley and Malloy are limited to maximum contributions of $100 and must abide by a general-election spending limit of $6.5 million.
In addition to the campaigns and the super PACs, the two state parties have raised $5.2 million.
Malloy campaigned Friday with Melodie Peters, the president of AFT-Connecticut and announced an initiative to reduce the time spent on standardized tests in the 11th grade.
“We applaud the Malloy-Wyman Administration for beginning what we hope is a process to carefully look at the over-reliance on standardized testing in our state’s public schools. We have long argued that ‘teaching to the test’ risks killing the love of learning for students and stifling the joy of the profession for educators,” Peters said in a statement.