HARTFORD, Conn. – Lawyers for the Democratic Governors Association and state election regulators will try to work out their differences before a magistrate in Bridgeport after both were questioned at length on the DGA’s challenge of Connecticut campaign finance law.
U.S. District Judge Janet Hall ordered the settlement talks after hearing oral argument Wednesday on the case, in which the DGA claims the State Elections Enforcement Commission and Connecticut campaign laws restrict its First Amendment right to spend money on behalf of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in the coming election.
Hall grilled lawyers for both sides but warned the DGA’s attorney, Marc Elias, not to draw conclusions from her questions.
“I ask a lot of questions and anyone who tries to make sense of those questions is wasting their time,” she said.
But the judge questioned whether the association had standing to bring a lawsuit against regulators who had not yet taken any enforcement action against the association. She also asked whether the law regulators intend to enforce unfairly punishes a candidate like Malloy simply because he associates with a group like the Democratic Governors Association.
The group filed a preemptive lawsuit hoping to avoid being prosecuted by the SEEC for spending money this fall on behalf of Malloy, who has actively raised money for the group and has served as its former finance chair.
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