Fair Elections for New York Launches Statewide TV Campaign To Push for Comprehensive Campaign Finance Reform

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(Albany, NY) – The Fair Elections for New York campaign – comprised of dozens of organizations representing diverse constituencies in every region of the state – is launching a new statewide TV campaign today calling on the state legislature to pass a full package of campaign finance reforms, with public financing at its core, during the current legislative session. The :30 second spot, entitled “Listen To Us,” highlights how everyday New Yorkers just aren’t being heard because political campaigns are dominated by big money. According to recent polls, a bipartisan majority of New Yorkers support broad campaign finance reform, including a system of public campaign financing, by a 61 to 33 margin.

The new ad campaign will be launched in every TV market in New York, including New York City, Albany, Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo, and will run for at least the two weeks legislators are in their home districts before returning for session on April 15. A preview of the spot can be found here, and a transcript is below.

“Our broken campaign finance system has allowed wealthy donors to drown out the voices of everyday people for far too long," said Karen Scharff, Executive Director of Citizen Action of New York. "'Listen to Us' will inform ordinary New Yorkers about how publicly-financed elections will finally make the voices of voters heard in Albany. Combined with rallies and community forums around the state, our grassroots movement for real democracy will continue to build unstoppable momentum until publicly-financed elections are passed by state lawmakers this legislative session.”

“Big money is drowning out the voices of non-wealthy New Yorkers. People are cynical about politics for good reason, but there are solutions, and this is one of them,” said Dan Cantor, Executive Director of the Working Families Party.

“The drumbeat to pass comprehensive campaign reform in New York this year is getting louder and louder," said David Donnelly, Executive Director of Public Campaign Action Fund. “Over the next few weeks, lawmakers across the state will hear from their constituents that they demand a political system that works for everyone and not just big campaign donors."

In the coming weeks, Fair Elections for New York will rally thousands of New Yorkers – from Manhattan to Buffalo – to join the reform movement and urge Albany to pass comprehensive campaign finance reform this session, beginning with a community forum at the Albany Public Library tomorrow at 6pm. Albany residents will be joined by State Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk and State Assemblymembers John T. McDonald and Phil Steck to address residents’ concerns about the corrupting influence of money in politics.

Additional forums and rallies have been scheduled for New York City on April 3, Syracuse and Clinton on April 4, Westchester and Manhattan on April 11, and Beacon on April 14. In addition, thirteen chapters of Democracy Matters – a student organization and Fair Elections campaign partner – will hold action events on college campuses across the state, while more than 100 campaign finance reform-themed house parties are expected during the week of April 7th.

The Fair Elections for New York campaign is calling on the state legislature to pass a full package of reforms, with public campaign financing at its core, in order to return New York to a system of, by, and for the people. A complete Fair Elections package must include public campaign financing, enhanced transparency and accountability for outside groups, and lower limits on the size of all political donations.

Dozens of organizations representing diverse constituencies in every region of the state have joined the Fair Elections campaign, including 1199SEIU, 32BJ SEIU, Americans for Campaign Reform, the Brennan Center for Justice, Citizen Action of New York, Common Cause/NY, Communications Workers of America, NAACP, Sierra Club, the Working Families Party, Human Services Council, NY Leadership for Accountable Government (NY LEAD), among others. Last week, Fair Elections also welcomed Organizing for Action (OFA) – with 744,000 New York members, the largest grassroots organization to ever engage on a state-based campaign finance reform effort – to its campaign.

For more information these and other upcoming events, and to learn more about how to work for campaign finance reform that will give everyday New Yorkers a voice, please visit www.fairelectionsny.org.

Transcript for “LISTEN TO US,” :30 television spot launched today by Fair Elections New York.

ANNCR: “Everyday New Yorkers just aren’t being heard because political campaigns are dominated by big money.

“As hard as we try, it doesn’t feel like anyone in Albany is listening.

“That’s why we need Fair Elections.

“By limiting political contributions and matching small donations with public funds… “

“…the politicians would have to listen to us for a change.”

“Join Governor Cuomo and pass the Fair Elections proposal.

“Go to FairElectionsNY.org”