For Immediate Release
May 9, 2007
Media Contact:
Sara Stuart
212.227.0342 ext. 16

Executive Director of Citizens Union
Calling Upon Elected Officials to Publicly Disclose Their Positions and
Enact Campaign Finance Reform
May 9, 2007

New Yorkers have grown tired of the way in which special interests affect their state government and want to end the undue influence money has on campaigns, candidates, and elected officials.

In this fog of discussion about campaign finance reform, New Yorkers lack knowing where their elected officials stand on the important issues that are driving this debate. Just as candidates have to disclose who their contributors are, it is now time for all of our state’s 214 elected officials to speak up and disclose where they stand on the specific issues involving campaign finance reform.

To put every elected official on the record, Citizens Union, in working with its good government colleagues, specifically NYPIRG, will contact individual state legislators over the next two weeks and ask them to tell us - and their constituents - where they stand on reforming the state’s campaign finance laws. At the appropriate time in the very near future, we will release our findings to the public.

We ask the legislators not to duck the questions and hide, but rather to show their cards and share their positions on some very specific elements of this debate. Their constituents would welcome this level of openness and accountability.

Among the questions we will ask are:

1. Do they support significantly lowering campaign contribution limits from individuals and PACS to candidates and party committees, and if so to what level?

2. Do they support banning or severely restricting institutional contributions from LLCs, partnerships, unions, and corporations?

3. Do they support placing a limit on soft money contributions?

4. Do they support requiring greater disclosure of information in matters like the names of donors’ employers, the itemization of large campaign expenses, the names and amount raised by those who solicit gifts on behalf of candidates, and adding a reporting period in April during the legislative session?

5. Do they support strengthening the enforcement power of the state board of elections and increasing the penalties the board can assign for violations?

6. Do they support adding a fifth member to the state board of elections which could bring a level of non partisan independence to the administration of our elections?

The moment for strong leadership and meaningful action on campaign finance reform has arrived, and New Yorkers need to know where their elected officials stand. The voters know where the Governor stands. The voters know where some of the legislators stand. But many are still hiding. Enacting meaningful campaign finance reform is about ensuring that the impact of special interests do not trump the public’s interest. The public is waiting for answers. This won’t all happen overnight, but important changes must be enacted now.

Citizens Union of the City of New York, a non-partisan force for good government for more than 100 years, works to inform and engage New Yorkers, to ensure local and state government values its citizens, addresses critical issues, and operates in a fair, open, and fiscally sound manner.

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