Lawmakers including Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Senator David Carlucci are pushing for public financing of campaigns in New York State. Opponents of the plan like Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor call it “welfare for politicians.” This week Lalor blasted Silver’s bill, releasing the following statement.
Statement on taxpayer-financed political campaigns from Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I – Fishkill):
“Giving more taxpayer dollars to Albany politicians is not the answer to the capital’s corruption crisis. Last week, the Assembly Democrats blocked a bill in committee that would have stripped pensions from elected officials convicted of public corruption. Speaker Silver was protecting pensions for convicted felons. Now Speaker Silver wants to reach into taxpayer wallets to pay for the crooks’’ political campaigns. There’’s just no shame in Albany.
“While Speaker Silver defends crooks, Governor Cuomo stretches the law to accept campaign contributions far beyond the individual limit. The governor’’s campaign has accepted $500,000 in contributions from one individual, Manhattan billionaire Leonard Litwin. That’s more than eight times the law’s individual contribution limit. Cuomo circumvents the law by taking donations from the many corporations controlled by Litwin. Cuomo could start cleaning up Albany by returning Litwin’’s tainted money.
“We’’ve seen New York City’’s taxpayer-financed campaign system embolden corrupt politicians. The crooks trip over each other in the mad rush for tax dollars for their campaigns. Malcolm Smith and Dan Halloran hatched their conspiracy with eyes on the taxpayer financing. Taxpayer-funded campaigns will only lead to more corruption and abuse. I’m going to vote against it. Real reforms will take tax dollars away from the crooks, not write a check to their campaigns.”