Injunction issued in campaign finance reform case against Conn. AG

John O'Brien Jan. 4, 2007, 2:44pm


BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - A federal judge in Connecticut granted Wednesday a preliminary injunction that will keep the names of the children of campaign contributors from being posted, which previously was required by a 2005 campaign finance reform act.

U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill signed the order in a case filed by Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, which is made up of more than 650 securities firms, banks, bond underwriters and asset managers.

The group filed suit against Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and Executive Director of the State Elections Enforcement Commission Jeffrey Garfield.

Underhill wrote that in a Jan. 2 hearing, the plaintiff established that "in the absence of an injunction, its member firms will suffer irreparable harm, there is a likelihood of success on the merits of one of its constitutional claims and the balance of hardships decidedly tips in Plaintiff's favor with respect to that claim, but not with respect to its other claims."

The law in question required the state to post the names of close relatives of state contractors who contributed to campaigns.

The plaintiff argues that the law violates the constitutional rights of the contributors' spouses and children.

Blumenthal released a statement regarding the judge's decision.

"The court's temporary first step gives the legislature the opportunity to address this significant campaign finance reform issue. I am pleased that the court left intact the law's requirement that the names of state contractor spouses appear on the State Elections Enforcement Commission's Web site," he said.

"This decision retains the critical core of Connecticut's campaign finance law -- a ban on political donations by contractors, lobbyists and their immediate family members and a public financing system. While I understand the objections, this landmark legislation is solidly grounded in constitutional law, and I will continue to vigorously defend it in court."

The Hartford Courant reported that plaintiffs counsel Ira Hammerman said, "We achieved our primary objective, which was keeping the names of dependent children off of the Internet."

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