Flanagan speaks out against Cuomo campaign finance reform, & election commission

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan leaves the Executive Mansion following a closed-door budget meeting with Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017, in Albany, N.Y. (Will Waldron/Times Union)
Democrats gave away law-making powers to create $100 million campaign welfare system & potentially nix choice through fusion voting

Senate Republican Leader John J. Flanagan and Long Island Republicans spoke out against the unconstitutional Campaign Finance Reform and Election Commission as the panel gathered to take testimony on Long Island today. Members of the Senate Republican Conference submitted a letter to the Commission, stating that the creation of the Commission was “unlawful,” and “creates a dangerous precedent for unaccountable legislating.”

“Democrats, who control every aspect of state government, unconstitutionally forfeited their law-making duties to a group of unelected appointees who sit on the Campaign Finance Reform and Election Commission. I refuse to testify before this traveling Commission of Scapegoats, who are unaccountable to the public,” said Flanagan said.

On October 3, Flanagan filed a cross-claim in a legal challenge to the constitutionality of this Commission.

“But the public should be aware that Democrats plan to allow others to write a $100 million welfare plan for their campaigns to bankroll expenses like nasty campaign commercials, annoying robocalls, and mailers. Democrats also intend through this Commission to unconstitutionally take away voter choice by eliminating fusion voting. While I fight against this in court, I urge the 65% of the public who oppose this to speak loudly before one-party rule misuses their tax dollars,” he added.

Senator Ken LaValle, the Republican representing parts of Suffolk County, agrees. He joined Flanagan in making the statement.

“We took important steps this year to increase voter participation and make it easier to register and enroll. As Elected Officials, it is our job to make the tough decisions to ensure that fair, accurate, and accessible voting takes place. Throughout my career, I have always believed it’s important for Legislators to take the difficult votes and be accountable to those who elected them. This pattern of creating commissions removes the voters’ ability to hold their representatives accountable,” said Senator Ken LaValle.

Democrats failed to bring any legislation to the floor during the past legislative session for public review or debate, but language that slipped into the budget created the Campaign Finance Reform and Election Commission, and charged it with developing a public campaign finance system at a cost of $100 million.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said that the Commission also had the authority to decide the fate of fusion voting, a system in place for over 100 years in this state that gives third parties more choice.

It’s unclear if Flanagan will be campaigning across the state to promote a package of alternative election law reforms.


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