The Connecticut Democratic Party has asked a Superior Court judge to make a declaratory ruling that federal election law pre-empts the State Elections Enforcement Commission from deciding whether the party illegally financed some of its support for the re-election of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
The motion, filed Monday in Stamford and made public Tuesday, is the third attempt by the Democrats to resolve a question at the heart of a Republican complaint that Democrats illegally used federal campaign funds to support Malloy’s re-election.
“It’s the same claim,” said David S. Golub, the lawyer for the Democrats.
A spokeswoman for Attorney General George C. Jepsen, Jaclyn M. Falkowski, said the office received a copy of the complaint Tuesday. “We will review the complaint and respond at the appropriate time in court,” she said.
An attorney for the State Elections Enforcement Commission also said the filing is under review and declined further comment.
Republicans say Democrats illegally circumvented a ban on state contractor contributions for state campaigns by using money from their federal account, which can accept contractor contributions, to pay for a mailing late in the 2014 race won by Malloy.
Democrats say the mailing was legal because it also promoted a get-out-the-vote effort. Democrats also say that federal law pre-empts the state from regulating how the federal funds are used.
The State Elections Enforcement Commission in April refused a request by Golub to make its own declaratory ruling.
Golub filed an administrative appeal. Jepsen’s office filed a motion to dismiss last week on grounds that the commission’s refusal to issue a declaratory ruling is not appealable under law.
Golub says the party’s response was Tuesday’s filing.
“The goal is to try to get a ruling,” Golub said. “It’s the same pleading. Instead of it being an administrative appeal, it’s a motion for declaratory judgment.”
Republican State Chairman J.R. Romano called the Democrats’ latest filing “scary.”
“The Connecticut Democrats are attempting to avoid a subpoena and to answer to a state regulatory agency, and they are sparing no expense. It begs the question: Why?”