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Reform Groups to IDC

Reform Groups to IDC

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Published by Celeste Katz
Reform Groups to IDC
Reform Groups to IDC

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Published by: Celeste Katz on Jun 10, 2013
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The Brennan Center for Justice Common Cause New York Citizens Union League of Women Voters of New

York State New York Public Interest Research Group June 10, 2013 Senate Co-President Jeff Klein State Senator David Carlucci State Senator Diane Savino State Senator David Valesky Legislative Office Building Albany, NY 12247 To 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 contribution limits 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, breeds corruption and that comprehensive change is necessary. Over the years, we have watched as Albany has moved from one scandal to the next, with promises of reform followed by excuses and finger-pointing rather than effective change. Last December, your independent conference broke away from Senate Democrats, and promised to change the way business in Albany was done. We were pleased when you emphasized the importance of your independence, and the need to put the people of New York ahead of partisanship. That you promised to “take the politics out of policymaking” and to “bring meaningful 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 campaign finance 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 three statewide leaders, including the governor, favor comprehensive reform. Your conference took a step toward meaningful reform by introducing a comprehensive bill, which we applauded. The Assembly passed a bill (supported by Senate Democrats) that shares common aims with your proposal, with solid public funding, more disclosure, and strong enforcement. Though differences between these bills exist, there is certainly enough common ground between the two to forge a way forward. We support the goal you set out at the beginning of this session to get things done, and move away from the partisanship, gridlock and finger-pointing that have plagued Albany for so many years. Few matters could be more important than passing meaningful reform legislation that lessens the influence of money on our politics. With the votes existing in the Senate to pass comprehensive campaign finance reform, we urge you to find a way to bring your campaign

finance bill to the floor so that New Yorkers are not denied a chance to know where each Senator stands on this important issue related to how our democracy functions. We make a similar plea for other bills important to New Yorkers that you support, but are now blocked because they do not have the support of just one of three Senate conferences. Not to do so would be anti-democratic, given the overall support for reform in both legislative chambers, from the governor, and from the strong majority of New Yorkers of all political persuasions. The people want a campaign finance system that works for regular New Yorkers — not just special interest donors. At a minimum, voters deserve to have their elected representatives vote on a comprehensive campaign finance package including a small donor public matching fund so that there can be no question regarding any individual legislator’s onthe-record position on this important issue. We have reached a critical moment. For your effort as a third, independent conference to succeed, you must work over the next two weeks with the Governor and colleagues in the Senate and Assembly -- regardless of party -- to overhaul our “show me the money” campaign finance system. We stand ready to work with you to accomplish that. Sincerely, Lawrence Norden Deputy Director, Democracy Program The Brennan Center for Justice Susan Lerner Executive Director Common Cause New York Dick Dadey Executive Director Citizens Union Sally Robinson President League of Women Voters of New York State Bill Mahoney Research Coordinator New York Public Interest Research Group

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