15 August, 2006

Tasini Gets NY Post's Backing On Debate Stance

Jonathan Tasini has picked up the support of the New York Post.

Well, let me explain further.

The anti-war Democrat has picked up the Post's support for Tasini's right to be invited to debate Sen. Hillary Clinton.

As we have reported and commented on, Tasini was told by the folks at NY1, the self-appointed grand poobahs of the political debates here in New York, that his campaign has not raised enough money to prove he's a viable candidate.

Never mind that he recently polled at 13% against Clinton while Tom Suozzi was in the single digits when NY1 permitted him on stage to debate Eliot Spitzer.

The unfortunate decision be NY1 just serves to point out the clear need for election reform in this country.

Candidates short on cash can't get out their message in TV ads and shiny leaflets. They must depend on free media coverage, which is often not easy to get since the media determines whether the candidate is worthy of their attention. Now, the last hope for poorly funded candidates to talk with a lot of voters at one time - the debate - has become the victim of the almighty dollar.

SUOZZI UNVEILS CAMPAIGN REFORM PLAN

Suozzi who's gubenatorial campaign has been somewhat dormant of late, today unveiled a plan for campaign reform in New York. Here are the highlights as released by the Suozzi campaign today:

Establish New (Lower) Campaign Finance Limits

  • Limit contributions to $2,100 for candidates in primaries or general elections for all offices
  • Provide 4:1 matching funds for the first $250 of in-state contributions for candidates who agree to spending limits ($15 million for Governor, $5 million for any other statewide race, $275,000 for the State Senate and $150,000 for the State Assembly)
  • Limit contributions to non-candidate committees and political parties to $5000 for individuals and ban corporations, partnerships, LLCs, and unions from all such donations
  • Ban all contributions from corporations, partnerships, LLCs and unions to candidates, political parties, and PACs
  • Ban all gifts from registered lobbyists, including money "bundled" from other parties
  • Limit contributions to $500 from lobbyists and anyone with a 5% or higher ownership stake in any entity with a contract or bidding pending with the state or a public authority

Encourage Greater Public Integrity

  • Ban all fundraising for all candidates for all races during the legislative session
  • Prohibit "rolling over" funds from previous election cycles. Residual campaign funds would be returned to donors pro rata, donated to charity or revert to the general fund
  • Limit candidates to only one active political committee at a time
  • Ban public officials or candidates from accepting honoraria

Strengthen Disclosure and Enforcement Regimes

  • Overhaul and depoliticize the board of elections and create an internal campaign finance unit with the resources and authority necessary for rigorous enforcement of the new campaign finance reforms
  • Require easily accessible and searchable disclosures of all contributions, and require contributors to disclose the names of their employers and any intermediaries
  • Impose stiff new penalties and stricter standards for fundraising violations
  • Augment the "knowing"' and "willful" requirements for prosecution under state election law to include "negligent"
  • Enforce disclosure requirements for PACs

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS CHANGES DEBATE DATES

The New York State League of Women voters today announced a change in the schedule for the general-election debates for governor.

They will now be held on Sept. 26 at Cornell University and Oct. 12 at a television station in Buffalo. The original dates were Oct. 18 in Ithica and Oct. 26 in Buffalo.



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