Connecticut’s campaign finance regulator, the State Elections Enforcement Commission (“SEEC”) recently released an important advisory opinion that made clear that a state contractor that is otherwise barred from giving to a state political party under Connecticut’s pay-to-play law can give to the party’s federal account, a point SEEC staff had previously addressed.  However, the state party must use those funds to influence federal elections, consistent with a method of separating federal and state campaign expenses laid out by the SEEC in that opinion.

The SEEC’s opinion should help settle a controversy over the prevalence of state party fundraising that included businesses that may otherwise be barred from giving to a state party under the pay-to-play law.

Notwithstanding the opinion, investigation will likely continue of allegations that solicitations for contributions to a state party’s federal account were requested specifically to support state candidates (in this case, the Governor).  Such a practice might be referred to as “earmarking.”  Earmarking—or designating that a contribution should be put to a particular use—often has ramifications in campaign finance law, whether at the state or federal level.

The investigation highlights an important point for donors restricted by Connecticut’s pay-to-play laws:  In evaluating compliance, regulators are looking at the identity of the group receiving the contribution and the context of solicitations and contributions.

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Photo of Kevin Glandon Kevin Glandon

Kevin Glandon is an associate in the firm’s government affairs, litigation, and white collar defense and investigations practice groups.  Glandon advises a wide range of clients regarding the Federal Election Campaign Act and FEC regulations; state and SEC pay-to-play restrictions; federal and state…

Kevin Glandon is an associate in the firm’s government affairs, litigation, and white collar defense and investigations practice groups.  Glandon advises a wide range of clients regarding the Federal Election Campaign Act and FEC regulations; state and SEC pay-to-play restrictions; federal and state campaign finance, gift, and lobbying laws; and U.S. House and Senate ethics rules.