Friday, April 27, 2007

'ACCE$$IBLE' ELIOT FLOORS REFORMERS

New York Post

In the real world...you need money to run for office....any office..........fundraising is a part of life for all politicians.......probably the hardest part of the job....nobody likes doing it............Eliot has set his own personal reform standards which nobody else has done........but........he still needs to raise money........this is the real world.............andy

April 27, 2007 -- ALBANY - Government-reform leaders who stood with Gov. Spitzer in support of his campaign-finance overhaul proposals were stunned yesterday to learn he's offering access to those who can raise bundles of cash for his 2010 campaign.
The Post reported yesterday that Spitzer is asking prospective donors to join his re-election finance committee to raise up to $1 million each by Election Day 2010.
Those who raise big bucks are granted varying degrees of access to Spitzer - depending on how much they commit to raise - ranging from quarterly finance-committee meetings with Spitzer to lunches, private barbecues and holiday parties with the governor and his wife.
"Promising access for dollars never looks good," said Rachel Leon, of Common Cause/New York, which stood with Spitzer earlier this week when he ripped Senate Republicans for blocking a campaign-finance reform deal.
Leon said she credits Spitzer for voluntarily adhering to self-imposed stricter donation limits while pushing the Legislature to act on campaign-finance reform. But she said asking individuals to raise $1 million from friends and colleagues for the campaign - a practice known as bundling - is troubling.
At the very least, Spitzer should agree to publicly reveal who is helping raise the money, otherwise "how are we going to know who those 'special people' are?" she said.
Spitzer spokeswoman Christine Anderson defended the practice.
"If you want to convince friends to raise money, how is that any different than getting people to go door to door or attend a rally? That's how you fund-raise. You get people involved," Anderson said.
"The governor has imposed [donation] limits," she added. "To somehow suggest that fund-raising or bundling is off-limits is off the mark."
Russell Haven, of the New York Public Interest Research Group, said that while "the governor deserves credit for voluntarily setting lower limits for himself, the escalating access based on how much his supporters raise sends the wrong message."
Barbara Bartoletti, who heads the state chapter of the League of Women Voters, said encouraging bundling by providing special access "is almost like an end run around" the voluntary donation limits the governor agreed to adhere to.
"It's bundling and does allow people access that the ordinary citizens would not have," Bartoletti said. "I don't see how you cannot expect people are going to criticize it."
"Average citizens do not give $10,000 to any candidate certainly with an eye toward raising $1 million," she added.
"You'd need 100 friends to give $10,000 just so you can get to a barbecue. We know who the ones are that will be able to do that - lobbyists and special interests."

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