For Immediate Release Common Cause Analysis Reveals Grisanti & Kennedy Took in over 90% & 75% of Campaign Cash from Outside Donors

Written by 212-691-6421 on April 5, 2012


For Immediate Release:

Contact: Susan Lerner

April 5, 2012

212-691-6421

Common Cause Analysis Reveals Grisanti & Kennedy Took in over 90% & 75% of Campaign Cash from Outside Donors

Buffalo Residents and Grassroots Leaders Demand Publicly-Financed Fair Elections System

As part of a statewide effort to build support for campaign finance reform, Common Cause NY joined today with Citizen Action, the League of Women Voters and others in Binghamton.

Common Cause NY revealed original research which showed that Senators Grisanti (R-60) and Kennedy (D-58) received 90% and 75% respectively of their campaign donations from outside of the district. The Senators relied almost entirely on large contributions over $2,500 to fill their campaign coffers and raised more than 50% of funds from corporations and organizations rather than individual New Yorkers.

There are upcoming events in other cities with similar data forthcoming.

Today residents and leaders in Buffalo came together to call on Senators Grisanti (R-60) and Kennedy (D-58) to fight for a system of publicly financed Fair Elections when they return to Albany on April 17th. Those gathered demanded that their leaders in Albany make Fair Elections the top priority issue for the remainder of this year's legislative session.

"Fair Elections allows the little guy to have as much weight and influence on their legislators as the big money corporations," said Jim Anderson, Vice President of Citizen Action of New York, and a Buffalo resident.

As the public continues to bear the brunt of pain after budget cuts to services, schools, and safety net programs, community leaders came together to demand that our elected leaders in the State Senate and Assembly ensure the priorities of Region are met by passing Fair Elections. A Fair Elections system would allow the priorities of constituents to matter more, because big campaign contributions would matter less. Fair Elections is proven to increase small donor participation in elections, boosting civic engagement and strengthening democracy.

Senator Mark Grisanti (R-60)

# of Contributions

Amount $

Total Contributions through Jan 2012

1,061

$538,773.78

% of

Total Dollars

In-District

289

$43,920.82

8.2%

In NY State Out-of-District

622

$302,277.75

56.1%

Out of NY State

92

$167,240.76

31.0%

No Matched Address

58

$25,334.45

4.7%

Contributions Under $200

679

$55,806.51

10.4%

Contributions $2,500 or greater

39

$286,422.60

53.2%

Contributions $5,000 or greater

21

$231,809.70

43.0%

Contributions from Corporations/Organizations

331

$177,447.36

32.9%

Contributions from Individuals

730

$361,326.42

67.1%

Senator Timothy Kennedy (D-58)

# of Contributions

Amount $

Total Contributions through Jan 2012

2,383

$1,403,811.17

% of

Total Dollars

In-District

1,287

$333,610.50

23.8%

In NY State Out-of-District

936

$954,797.31

68.0%

Out of NY State

76

$64,368.72

4.6%

No Matched Address

84

$51,679.64

3.7%

Contributions Under $200

1,431

$90,880.11

6.5%

Contributions $2,500 or greater

112

$783,934.55

55.8%

Contributions $5,000 or greater

21

$454,801.00

32.4%

Contributions from Corporations/Organizations

710

$862,825.17

61.5%

Contributions from Individuals

1,673

$540,986.00

38.5%

"We need Fair Elections so that our elected officials are accountable to the people who put them in office, not the special interests which fund their campaigns. Our current system undermines the very essence of democracy and advantages big money donors over the needs of average voters. Public policy shouldn't be set by the highest bidder," said Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause NY.

"The influx of money from the rich and powerful is silencing the voices of the poor and working class. As a result our democracy is diminished," said Dr. Nicole Jowsey, Board Chair for Citizen Action of Western New York.

"It is a moral outrage that the deep pockets of the few control the precious democracy that many working men and women have sacrificed their lives to protect and preserve," said George F. Nicholas, Senior Pastor, Lincoln Memorial and Metropolitan United Methodist Church.

Office: Common Cause New York

Common Cause is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.

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