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Political Donors Speak Out on Fair Elections in New York

March 25, 2014 | Adam Smith

Albany, NY—Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein received letters today signed by nearly 150 major political donors representing just under $30 million in federal campaign donations urging them to pass a small donor public financing system. One-third of the signers are from New York.

“These political donors join the thousands of grassroots activists, organizations, and business leaders who know a Fair Elections victory in New York would be a lightning bolt for national efforts to fix our broken campaign finance system,” said David Donnelly, executive director of Public Campaign Action Fund, a group that helped organize the letter. “The difference between a victory for everyday people or for the big money status quo is in Gov. Cuomo’s hands.”

From the letter:

“In federal and many state and local elections, and even elections for state courts, extraordinarily wealthy individuals and powerful corporations exercise vastly outsized influence. We urge you to fix today’s broken campaign finance laws. Nothing less than our democracy is at stake.

“We who sign this letter raise and give substantial sums for elections. The influence that people like us have will be curtailed by the changes we seek, but our democracy must return to the First Amendment principle that all Americans, not just the wealthy, must have their voices heard.”

It goes on to call for small donor public financing systems, similar to the one being debated as part of the budget process in Albany.

Organized by Public Campaign Action Fund, Voices for Progress, and Friends of Democracy, the letter was signed by 146 political donors representing over $29 million in federal political spending, according to analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

Download the full list of signers and letters to Gov. CuomoSpeaker Silver, and Sen. Klein.

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