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The Sun letter to the editor: Tackling senator’s recent claims

New York State Sen. Mark Grisanti used distortions and empty rhetoric to defend Albany’s corrupt status quo in a recent op-ed attacking my organization, Public Campaign Action Fund (“In opposition to taxpayer-funded elections,” April 6, 2014).

The Fair Elections for New York Campaign, a coalition of dozens of organizations representing millions of New Yorkers, isn’t forcing anyone to do anything.

We simply want to offer candidates an alternative way to run for election, one that depends on small donations from everyday people, instead of big money campaign contributions.

It’s modeled on a system that has worked well for years, in New York City and neighboring Connecticut. As one Republican lawmaker elected under Connecticut’s small donor system said, “Now, people concentrate more on the issues; read the issues. You see more votes that are bipartisan and the big issues get bipartisan votes.”

While we agree with Sen. Grisanti that changes to disclosure laws and so-called “housekeeping accounts” are important, those fixes miss the forest for the trees.

They don’t address the root problem of New York lawmakers’ depending on an elite set of wealthy donors to fund their campaigns: the Wall Street bankers, insurance companies, and New York City developers that mail their campaign checks to his Buffalo office, every cycle.

And that’s why we decided to educate Sen. Grisanti’s constituents about his opposition to comprehensive reform of the way our elections are financed. They deserve to know where he stands: with the status quo.

David Donnelly
Executive director
Public Campaign Action Fund

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