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Connecticut Leads the Way in Getting Money Out of Politics

March 17, 2014

HARTFORD, Conn. - People concerned about getting money out of politics in Connecticut have been keeping an eye on New Hampshire, where the issue has been a hot topic at dozens of town meetings in just the last week.

According to Jonah Minkoff-Zern, New England organizer for Public Citizen's Democracy, New Hampshire is following Connecticut's lead in getting active on the issue, but in the Granite State the call for a constitutional amendment is happening by warrants and resolutions from one town meeting to the next.

"Connecticut did something a little bit different than a few states have done," he pointed out. "It is one of three states that have voted for a constitutional amendment by a majority of both of their houses in the Legislature to sign onto a letter to Congress."

Minkoff-Zern said preliminary results show at least 40 New Hampshire towns have passed resolutions calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. Since that Supreme Court decision, he says, billions of dollars from special interests have been flowing into elections.

New Hampshire resident Ellen Read said she pushed hard in her town of Newmarket to get the town council to take up the resolution, which was approved by a unanimous vote.

"There have been several Supreme Court decisions that have taken power away from people in our government and given it over to monied organizations, powerful organizations," she said. "And we believe that in a democracy you shouldn't have to have money to have a voice in your government."

Minkoff-Zern said getting the Granite State on board sends a powerful message to the nation that the entire New England region is concerned and demanding action to get money out of politics.

"It's a really striking landmark to have all of New England calling for a constitutional amendment. It's also that New Hampshire is important in itself, because it's the first primary state, and it's where a lot of the country looks to for political direction."

In addition to the six New England states, 11 others nationwide have called for similar amendments.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - CT