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Brennan Center Urges Renewed Push for NYS Campaign Reform

For Immediate Release
May 9, 2007

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Susan Lehman, Brennan Center, 212-998-6318

Brennan Center Urges Renewed Push for NYS Campaign Reform

Today, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law executive director Michael Waldman met with Governor Spitzer to reinforce the Centers strong support for campaign finance reform.

Last month, Gov. Spitzer announced principles that would markedly strengthen campaign finance laws in New York State. New Yorks laws are among the nations weakest. These proposals would be a strong step toward needed change. It is unconscionable that incumbents would block such sensible reforms, Waldman said. 

This cant be a mission for good government groups alone, Waldman said. Every one of us has a stake in making Albany work. Civic, business, labor and religious groups from around the state should join the drive to renew our system. Waldman pledged to continue reaching out to civic leaders to make the case for reform.

The Brennan Center has launched a series of op-eds addressing reform. In a piece published in Newsday today, Waldman and his coauthor Bethany Foster took aim at opponents arguments that reform would help the wealthy and incumbents. "Lets be serious: If the proposed reforms really benefited incumbents and the wealthy, they would have been enacted long ago. In fact, the current plan does just the opposite, they wrote. When longtime incumbents suddenly start sounding like William Jennings Bryan, watch your wallet. Fear of millionaires is not an argument against reform, its an excuse."

The Brennan Center has a long history supporting campaign reform. 

The Brennan Centers Paper Thin: The Flimsy Facade of Campaign Finance Laws in New York State revealed that New Yorks election finance laws were among the nations weakest. 

The Brennan Center recently released a series of reports examining the laws of five key Midwestern states.

In Green Party of Connecticut v. Garfield, the Center represents reform groups seeking to intervene in federal court to defend the Nutmeg States landmark public financing law. 

The Brennan Center was co-lead counsel in McConnell v. FEC, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that upheld the McCain-Feingold law (the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act) (BCRA).