For Immediate Release Common Cause analysis reveals Valesky and DeFrancisco took in over 80% of campaign cash from outside donors.

Written by 212-691-6421 on April 4, 2012


For Immediate Release:

Contact: Susan Lerner

April 4, 2012

212-691-6421

Common Cause analysis reveals Valesky and DeFrancisco took in over 80% of campaign cash from outside donors.

Syracuse 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 Syracuse.

Common Cause NY revealed original research which showed that Senators Valesky (D-49) and DeFrancisco (R-50) each received over 80% of their campaign donations from outside of their district. Each Senator relied almost entirely on large contributions over $200 to fill their campaign coffers and raised more than 75% of their funds from corporations and organizations rather than individual New Yorkers.

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

In Syracuse today residents and leaders in Syracuse came together to call on Senators DeFrancisco and Valesky 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.

"Our system of elections in New York is broken," said Phyllis Lee-Williams, Chair of Central New York-area Citizen Action of New York. "With Fair Elections, candidates will be more accountable to us, not CEO campaign contributors, because they'll be able to run competitive campaigns by raising small contributions from our community. Fair Elections will make sure that our representatives fight for our priorities in Albany."

New research revealed at the press conference, provided by Common Cause NY, illustrated the problem with the current campaign finance system. Both Senators DeFrancisco and Valesky received a significant majority of their campaign donations from outside of their district. They also both received almost all of their donations through contributions over $200.

Senator David Valesky (D-49)

# of Contributions

Amount ($)

Total Contributions 2005 -- Jan 2012

3,126

$2,096,218.38

% of

Total Dollars

In-District

1,311

$356,838.02

17.0%

In NY State Out-of-District

1,533

$1,476,859.98

70.5%

Out of NY State

181

$158,720.00

7.6%

No Matched Address

101

$103,800.38

5.0%

Contributions Under $200

1,166

$117,994.86

5.6%

Contributions $2,500 or greater

173

$927,194.60

44.2%

Contributions $5,000 or greater

88

$674,201.60

32.2%

Contributions from Corporations/Organizations

1,592

$1,558,987.51

74.4%

Contributions from Individuals

1,533

$537,230.87

25.6%

Senator John DeFrancisco (R-50)

# of Contributions

Amount ($)

Total Contributions 2005 -- Jan 2012

2,099

$1,252,267.79

% of

Total Dollars

In-District

591

$246,487.25

19.7%

In NY State Out-of-District

1,292

$841,333.52

67.2%

Out of NY State

135

$126,336.02

10.1%

No Matched Address

81

$38,111.00

3.0%

Contributions Under $200

282

$28,747.55

2.3%

Contributions $2,500 or greater

57

$215,263.13

17.2%

Contributions $5,000 or greater

15

$79,500.00

6.3%

Contributions from Corporations/Organizations

1,290

$947,257.66

75.6%

Contributions from Individuals

808

$305,010.13

24.4%

"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.

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 Central New York 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.

"As a former candidate for several positions in local government, I believe the community must be involved in elections," said Rev. Roosevelt Baums. "In order to ensure our elected officials are accountable to our priorities, elections must be based on the principle of one person, one vote. Fair Elections campaign finance reform will put the people back in charge."

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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