Thursday, June 14, 2007

Forums Are Fine, but Action Is Better

In a press release issued Tuesday, New York Republican Party Chairman Joseph Mondello touted the Senate's plan to hold public forums on campaign finance reform as "an admirable effort to engage experts and the public in an open, thoughtful debate."

The Brennan Center is always happy when either chamber of the legislature holds public hearings on matters of grave public importance. But we hardly share Mondello's sentiment that the Senate's actions in the area of campaign finance reform are "admirable."

The Senate did this year what it always does - it allowed its leadership to stall and ultimately kill any campaign finance legislation that was introduced. We all already know that New York's campaign finance system is broken. Good government groups and other experts have written countless reports, letters, and op-eds explaining in detail how painfully inadequate our laws are. And a recent Siena poll shows that the vast majority of New Yorkers believe the Governor's proposal would make elections fairer.

The Senate should hold hearings on the Governor's much-needed campaign finance reforms - and then it should pass them. If the hearings are legitimate, it will be apparent that anything less is just another cop out.

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