BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Mayor Joe Ganim is considering legal action in the wake of a state ruling that he is disqualified from receiving a public campaign grant for his possible run for governor because he was a convicted felon.
The State Elections Enforcement Commission’s ruling was based on a 2013 law barring those convicted of felonies related to their public office from participating in public financing.
In 2003, Ganim was convicted of racketeering, extortion, bribery and mail fraud and served seven years in prison.
“This ruling is disappointing but not surprising, given the draft previously released by SEEC,” Ganim said in a statement Wednesday. “The law it is based on, however, is patently unfair and most likely unconstitutional. Those like me with a felony conviction long ago in their past have the legal ability in our state to restore their voting rights, run for and serve in elected office. There is simply no rational justification for denying equal access to public financing for all candidates who qualify for the ballot.”
Ganim said the ruling provides some candidates will access to nearly $8 million, while not allowing others to compete for those dollars. He believes that violates both the equal protection and free speech clauses of the U.S. Constitution.
“I will be examining this ruling in detail with my legal team in the coming days, and will likely seek judicial intervention on this important voter rights issue,” he said. “This is about fairness for Connecticut voters to have the right to choose who they want to represent them as much as is it for good citizens to have the right to seek public service in a fair system.”
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