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Friday, January 14, 2005

Suffolk County Legislature Snuffs Campaign Finance Board

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As Patrick O'Gilfoil Healy reports in The New York Times, the Suffolk County (NY) Legislature has killed the county's voter-approved Campaign Finance Board by choking off the board's funding. This past November, the County Legislature overrode the veto of the county executive to eliminate the entirety of the board's budget.

No funding, no Board. No Board, no campaign finance oversight. Who benefits from the lack of oversight? The same people who voted to kill the funding for the board which oversaw them: the County Legislators.

That level of self-interest from public officials alone seems like a pretty good definition of chutzpah, but it is made worse by the fact that Suffolk County voters voted the Campaign Finance Board into existence. (See here for the Florida version of chutzpah.) The people said: we want oversight for our politicians. The politicians' response: fuhgeddaboutit!

The pols who voted to kill the board may have won a temporary victory in their efforts to operate their campaigns without oversight. Fortunately, however, in a democracy, a victory is as long- or short-lived as the people want it to be. The way for the people of Suffolk County to win back the oversight they voted for six years ago: vote these bums out of office next chance they get.

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