The Brennan Center for JusticeCommon Cause New York Citizens UnionLeague of Women Voters of New York State New York Public Interest Research GroupJune 10, 2013Senate Co-President Jeff KleinState Senator David CarlucciState Senator Diane SavinoState Senator David ValeskyLegislative Office BuildingAlbany, NY 12247To the Members of the Independent Democratic Conference:Our non-partisan groups have long fought for comprehensive campaign finance reform,including greater transparency, independent enforcement of campaign laws, lower contributionlimits and public matching funds for small contributions. Like you and most New Yorkers of all political affiliations, we believe that the current system of campaign finance is flawed, breedscorruption and that comprehensive change is necessary. Over the years, we have watched asAlbany has moved from one scandal to the next, with promises of reform followed by excusesand finger-pointing rather than effective change.Last December, your independent conference broke away from Senate Democrats, and promisedto change the way business in Albany was done. We were pleased when you emphasized theimportance of your independence, and the need to put the people of New York ahead of partisanship. That you promi
sed to “take the politics out of policymaking”
and to “bringmeaningful results” for New Yorkers struck a positive and hopeful tone.
We were most
encouraged when your leader, Jeff Klein, stated that he was “extremely confident” that “serious
ce reform . . . will come to the Senate floor for a vote.”
And over the last few months, it has appeared that this time could be different. All threestatewide leaders, including the governor, favor comprehensive reform. Your conference took astep toward meaningful reform by introducing a comprehensive bill, which we applauded. TheAssembly passed a bill (supported by Senate Democrats) that shares common aims with your proposal, with solid public funding, more disclosure, and strong enforcement. Thoughdifferences between these bills exist, there is certainly enough common ground between the twoto forge a way forward.We support the goal you set out at the beginning of this session to get things done, and moveaway from the partisanship, gridlock and finger-pointing that have plagued Albany for so manyyears. Few matters could be more important than passing meaningful reform legislation thatlessens the influence of money on our politics. With the votes existing in the Senate to passcomprehensive campaign finance reform, we urge you to find a way to bring your campaign