And You Thought We Didn't Need Campaign Finance Reform
With the general election a little over a month away, the money flows out of the campaign war chests like water down the Hudson River to the sea.
And may the biggest spender win!
Here's the tab for expenditures, to date, for the incumbents in the races for Town Supervisor in Oyster Bay, North Hempstead, and Hempstead, respectively:
John Venditto $50,194.47
John Kaiman $140,753.49
Kate Murray $199,685.89
And the winner is? As if you didn't know. [Only fitting that the biggest spender should find herself in America's biggest township, where there really isn't any challenge this year, to speak of. Hey, you think all those signs, placards, and mailings come cheap? Wait. We forgot. No campaign funds have been used for the mailing of those Murraygrams. That's your tax dollars at work!]
These are local races, mind you, where the opposition has been, at best, nominal, if not non-existent.
Even the money spent in the race for Nassau County Executive can be telling, where incumbent, Tom Suozzi has outspent challenger, Ed Mangano, by some $357,513.32 to $28,862.74, not to mention outraising his opponent (albeit in a race that is virtually no contest) to the tune of $1,127,358.50 to $78,759.10.
Okay. So there's nothing unlawful about amassing money in a campaign war chest, and then simply outspending your opponent (or, in the case of Michael Bloomberg in NYC (whose expenditures, through July, have been $36,645,273.82, outspending most developed nations in the world).
Maybe, just maybe, to level that playing field -- in the hope that the most qualified candidates (and not the biggest spenders) may win -- it just ought to be.
Time to take another look at campaign finance reform and the public financing of elections? You betcha!
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To Search the NYS Board of Elections Campaign Finance Disclosure database by candidate name, click HERE.
For a spreadsheet of 2009 campaign spending by the incumbents in the races for Town Supervisor in Nassau County, e-mail The Community Alliance at email@example.com.