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Corporate Cash, Personal Wealth: Randy Altschuler's Campaign Funding and What it Means for Long Island

Corporate Cash, Personal Wealth: Randy Altschuler's Campaign Funding and What it Means for Long Island

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Voters in New York’s First Congressional District, on the east end of Long Island, will face an important choice in just a few days on November 2nd. The incumbent, Timothy H. Bishop (D), has been in office since 2002, focusing on such issues as the economy, veterans, the environment, access to education, and health care reform.
Voters in New York’s First Congressional District, on the east end of Long Island, will face an important choice in just a few days on November 2nd. The incumbent, Timothy H. Bishop (D), has been in office since 2002, focusing on such issues as the economy, veterans, the environment, access to education, and health care reform.

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Published by: Citizen Action of New York on Oct 26, 2010
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12/26/2010

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Voters in New York’s First Congressional District, onthe east end o Long Island, will ace an importantchoice in just a ew days on November 2nd. Theincumbent, Timothy H. Bishop (D), has been in ofcesince 2002, ocusing on such issues as the economy,veterans, the environment, access to education, andhealth care reorm.His opponent, Randy Altschuler, a wealthy executivewho has unded his campaign rom his personalwealth and corporate donations, claims to be a voiceor reorm. But, as this report shows, the record isquite the opposite: both as to issue concerns andthose who nancially support his campaign.Mr. Altschuler, like most in his party, opposesregulations on corporations and tax cuts or thewealthy, a program which will inevitably mean limitedunding or education, health care, and job creation.
There is no mystery why Randy Altschulersupports such an agenda.
Using campaigncontributions data during the current (2010) cycleprimarily rom OpenSecrets.org, a leading non-partisan web page ocused on the inuence o moneyand politics, we ound the ollowing:
1)Randy Altschuler is unded primarily by acombination o corporate interests and hisown personal unds rather than byindividuals, raising serious questions as towhether he is accountable to corporatedonors or to the working amilies o the1st Congressional District.2)Mr. Altschuler received disproportionateunding rom the fnancial servicesindustry and other industry groups with avested interest in lax regulation -- the kindo regulation that nearly led to thecollapse o the U.S. economy in the all o 2008.3)Mr. Altschuler, a strong health care reormopponent, benefted enormously romsupport rom corporate-undedorganizations that oppose reorm in theorm o advertising targeted at TimothyBishop, a strong health care reormsupporter. He also received signifcantcontributions rom insurance companiesthat oppose reorm.4)Randy Altschuler received adisproportionate share o hiscontributions rom out-o-statecontributors and rom those outside o Long Island, likely reecting theimportance o Mr. Altschuler’s candidacyto out-o-state corporate interests.
Altschuler’s ties to big money (corporate donationsand sel-unding) -- and support o a corporateagenda vastly at odds with the needs o the workingamilies in his district -- testies to the need orlegislation supported by Congressman Bishop thatwould allow ederal candidates to choose to run orofce without relying on the large contributions o wealthy individuals or corporate contributions. Withthe passage o ederal campaign nance legislation,candidates can instead ocus on the needs o workingpeople in their communities rather than the needs o powerul special interests who und their campaigns.(A summary o this legislation appears in an appendixto this report.)
I
NTRODUCTION
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1)Our examination o campaign fnance dataindicates that Randy Altschuler is undedprimarily by a combination o corporateinterests and his own personal wealth ratherthan individuals. This raises seriousquestions as to whether he is accountable tocorporate donors (or shares their vision as a“sel-fnanced” candidate), or to the workingamilies o the 1st Congressional District.
Roughly two-thirds o Randy Altschulerstotal contributions during the 2010 electionscycle (65%) were rom his own personalunds and PACs rather than to individuals.(See Table 1; also see point 2 below or whichindustry sectors provided the mostdonations.) By way o comparison, TimBishop provided no personal unds or hiscampaign. (Table 2)Roughly $2 million o the $3 million Mr.Altschuler received (63%) is “sel-nanced”:Altschuler used his own unds or hiscampaign. (Table 1)Both Altschuler’s personal history and his statedpublic positions raise enormous concerns about hiscorporate connections and his willingness toadvocate or working amilies. A recent poll oundthat 71% o U.S. voters believe that outsourcing isharmul to the economy. Yet, Randy Altschuler hasbeen in the oreront o sending American jobsoverseas. In 2000, he ounded an outsourcingcompany called OfceTiger. Altschuler’s companyhad great success helping U.S. businesses cut costsand streamline their operations by helping themsend “back-ofce” work overseas. Instead o employing workers rom the U.S. to do white-collarwork like research or design, OfceTiger’s clientscontracted these tasks to OfceTiger's employees inplaces like India, Sri Lanka and the Philippines,where wages are much lower than the U.S. In a 2006documentary, it was suggested that OfceTiger is sosuccessul because they work their sta remarkablylong hours and eliminate breaks. By outsourcingwork to OfceTiger’s locations overseas, OfceTiger’sclients cut costs on the backs o American workers,and Randy Altschuler nancially reaped the benets.In contrast, Congressman Tim Bishop has recentlyintroduced legislation to orce companies todisclose when they route customer service calls tooverseas call centers (H.R. 6309). “My constituentsare rustrated that companies have prioritizedprots over customer service by outsourcing theircall centers,” Bishop has said. “I people would ratherpatronize businesses committed to employingAmericans, they should have that inormed choice.”(Senator Schumer o New York has introducedsimilar legislation in the Senate.)
2)A disproportionate share o RandyAltschuler’s contributions rom other thanhis own personal unds have been romcontributors associated with the fnancialservices industry and other industry groupswith a vested interest in lax regulation. Thislax regulation nearly led to the collapse o the U.S. economy in the all o 2008.
Broken down by industry, an examination o the top 5 sources o contributions to theAltschuler campaign (individual and PACcontributions) shows that his donors aredisproportionately connected to industrysectors that would benet rom lax ederalregulation o the nancial services industryand related sectors. Specically, he received$217,546 rom the securities and investment
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CategoryAmount%
PAC Contributions$78,700 2%Individual Contributions$1,003,875 32%Candidate Self-Financing$2,010,213 63%Other$84,796 3%Total $3,177,584 100%
Table 1: Contributions by Source: Randy Altschuler
CategoryAmount%
PAC Contributions$860,479 39%Individual Contributions$1,314,530 60%Candidate Self-Financing$0 0%Other$4,132 0%Total $2,179,141 100%
Table 2: Contributions by Source: Timothy Bishop
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