Thursday, May 24, 2007

Bigger Better Bottle Bill Bashers Back Bruno & Buddies

The AP reports that Senate Majority Leader Bruno will be honored today at a fundraiser in Manhattan sponsored by opponents of the Bigger Better Bottle Bill.

Attendees are being asked to pony up $5,000 that will go to the GOP campaign committee in the Senate. As the invitation boasts, these donations “do not apply toward the $5,000 corporate calendar year limit.”

Not only is the campaign committee accepting cash from special interests opposing legislation currently before the Senate, but they are encouraging donors to exploit one of the biggest loopholes in New York campaign finance law—the ability to give unlimited amounts to party “housekeeping” accounts, freeing up so-called hard money for use on the campaign trail.

This is just one example of unsavory behavior by members of both parties that is nonetheless legal under New York law. And you wonder why the public questions whether incumbents are simply peddling their influence to the highest bidder, feathering their nests and ensuring for themselves almost 100% reelection rates.

It’s time to close the loopholes. Governor Spitzer has proposed capping corporate donations to housekeeping accounts at $50,000, which would go a long way toward curbing the influence of big donations on legislators. Tell your Senator and Assemblymember (or their empty chairs, if you happen to be attending tonight’s forum in Rochester) that they won’t get your vote without action on this crucial issue.

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