(CBS Connecticut) — Good government groups and Democratic elected officials today called for the preservation of the Citizens Election Program.

The CEP gives money to state political candidates who agree to follow clean election rules.

Common Cause Connecticut Director Cheri Quickmire says by eliminating the program, the Republican budget passed by the General Assembly last week would put wealthy special interests ahead of people.

“With increasing voter anger about the power of big money in politics and corruption scandals in Washington, it seems like the last thing Connecticut state lawmakers should be doing is taking us backwards to the Corrupticut days,” Quickmire said.

The program was approved after a string of political corruption prosecutions in the state in the early 2000’s, including the first criminal conviction of former Governor John Rowland.

Governor Dannel Malloy has said he will veto the Republican budget, which passed with the support of all Republicans voting, and a handful of Democrats in each chamber. More budget negotiations are expected.

Some Republican lawmakers say the program limits the free speech of political donors or candidates. They say taxpayer-funded political campaigns are a waste of money.


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