May 3, 2013

Senator Thomas F. O’Mara, Chair Senator Diane Savino New York Senate Standing Committee on Elections New York State Capitol Building 172 State Street Albany, NY 12247 Re: Public Hearing “To examine the abuses within New York City’s taxpayer funded political campaign system and the implications for state taxpayers if the system were to be expanded statewide”

Dear Senators O’Mara and Savino: We write on behalf of the Brennan Center for Justice at N.Y.U. School of Law, the Center for Working Families, Citizen Action of New York, Common Cause/New York, and NYPIRG to request that we be permitted to testify at the public hearing on New York City’s public campaign system that the Elections Committee will hold at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, May 7th, 2013. In the public announcement for this hearing, Senator O’Mara rightly noted that “it’s important to be as deliberate and as thorough as possible in examining the potential benefits and pitfalls of” comprehensive campaign finance reform, and that “the New York City experience with public financing deserves a close look before implementing” a similar system at the state level. We could not agree more. Our organizations have studied campaign finance systems in New York City, New York State, and across the country, and are widely recognized as experts on issues relating to money in politics and public corruption. In particular, our groups have extensively studied the impact that New York City’s 25-year-old campaign finance system has had on the rampant and systemic corruption that pervaded the City in the 1980s. And we have been active in advocating for New York State to respond to the recent wave of corruption

scandals by enacting comprehensive campaign finance reform with a small donor system of public financing at its core. Given our organizations’ collective expertise on the subject of the May 7th public hearing, we respectfully request the opportunity to participate and present testimony. We strongly believe that our expertise would assist the members of the committee in developing a fuller understanding of the issues presented; conversely, excluding testimony from our groups will prevent the committee from receiving a well-rounded, full airing of views on the issues of corruption and campaign finance reform. Ideally, all interested New Yorkers should be given the opportunity to testify before a Senate hearing on campaign finance. Respectfully Submitted, Lawrence Norden Brennan Center for Justice David Palmer Center for Working Families Jessica Wisneski Citizen Action of New York Susan Lerner Common Cause/New York Bill Mahoney NYPIRG

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