Former Fairfield candidate sues state over baby-sitting ruling

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FAIRFIELD -

A former state House candidate from Fairfield filed a lawsuit against the state Friday, after the State Elections Enforcement Commission rejected her bid to use public campaign dollars for child care.

Caitlin Clarkson Pereira’s lawsuit asks a judge to reverse the SEEC’s decision.

In April, the all-male commission ruled that baby-sitting is a "personal" expense and that only 100 percent privately financed campaigns can pay for it. The SEEC ruled that state law only allows candidates receiving money from the publicly financed Citizens Election Program to use it on direct campaign expenses.

“The demands of a candidacy for elected office required Caitlin to spend an increasing amount of money on childcare from the beginning of her campaign in the spring of 2018,” the lawsuit says.  “Caitlin was needlessly forced, on many occasions, to choose between her campaign’s needs and her family’s needs.”

Pereira's push gained national attention. Hillary Clinton took notice on Twitter last week , and the head of Federal Election Commission in Washington told state officials that if candidates can pay for gas with campaign cash, they should also be able to pay for a baby sitter.

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