Criticize New York Senators for Blocking Public Participation in Campaign Finance Talks

state-senate

Target: Chairman of the NY State Senate Elections Committee, Thomas F. O’Mara

Goal: Criticize New York state senators for blocking public access to a public hearing and make campaign finance reform accessible to the public.

A recent New York State Senate hearing on campaign finance reform was held to discuss the corruption associated with state electoral politics and campaign finance. However, campaign finance reform experts and advocates were unable to reveal their findings at the public hearing  when Senate Republicans barred the doors to those critical of their opposition to campaign finance reform. Security prevented the public or anyone from entering the so-called public hearing and protests erupted. The State Senate must make the discussion on campaign finance reform open and accessible to the public.

There has been a lot of pressure from anti-big money groups on New York state senators for campaign finance reform. One of the top priorities for Democrats in the legislative session this year is a push to adopt a statewide system to provide public matching funds for candidates, modeled after the city’s system. This is meant to encourage small-donor-empowered campaign finance. Republicans, who have partial control of the State Senate, oppose the idea.

With recent polls showing keen public interest in reform issues, members of the public ought to at least be able to observe and listen to the proceedings, in accordance with the law, However, The Senate’s sergeants-at-arms would not allow members of the public into the hearing room, saying that they needed to save space for legislative staff, even though there were numerous seats available. The failure to open up a “public” hearing to the public is shameful to democracy and open government in New York and Senator GOP members should be criticized for allowing this to happen.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Thomas F. O’Mara,

The recent hearing in the New York State senate on campaign finance reform became a shameful corrosion of democracy and public rights when security prevented finance reform experts, open government advocates and members of the public from attending. With recent polls showing keen public interest in reform issues, members of the public ought to at least be able to observe and listen to the proceedings, in accordance with the law. The State Senate must make the discussion on campaign finance reform open and accessible to the public.

Senate’s sergeants-at-arms would not allow members of the public into the hearing room, first saying that they needed to save space for legislative staff, even though there were seats available. Campaign finance reform experts and advocates were unable to reveal their findings at the public hearing, allowing the hearing to become unfairly one-sided. The failure to open up a “public” hearing to the public is shameful to democracy and open government in New York and Senator GOP members should be criticized for allowing this to happen.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Cliff Weathers via NY Alternative News

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86 Signatures

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