Moderate Party, ACLU sue for campaign finances

Providence, R.I. – For the second time in a year, the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the newly created Moderate Party of Rhode Island.

The first lawsuit gave the Moderates party status. Now they want a share of the contributions taxpayers donate on their tax returns to political parties.

The fund usually amounts to about $100,000 a year, said Moderate Party executive director Christine Hunsinger. Under the current distribution formula, Democrats get 60 percent of the money and Republicans get the rest.

"People in political power wrote these laws and made it so that they benefitted and access is denied to those who are new to the process or trying to get in," said Hunsinger.

Rhode Island law allows taxpayers to contribute $5 of their tax returns to campaign financing. The taxpayer may designate which party gets 20 percent of the contribution. The rest is distributed on a prorated basis to the parties that participated in the last elections for lieutenant governor, attorney general, treasurer and secretary of state.