BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) - Republican State Senator Mark Grisanti is fighting back against a group that claims he is part of Albany’s pay-to-play culture.
The group, the Public Campaign Action Fund, supports changing New York’s election laws to mandate that private donations to politicians’ campaigns be matched with taxpayers’ money. Senator Grisanti says, that’s simply not right.
The Washington, DC-based nonprofit group released a television ad Saturday targeting Republicans in the New York State Senate.
The ad supports a package of reforms known as the Fair Elections Proposal.
“Now, we need to clean up the damage from something else: the unfair influence of big money in our elections. But the Senate is blocking the Governor’s Fair Elections Proposal. He must hold the line against them,” the female narrator says.
One of the reforms calls for matching small, private entities’ donations to candidates running for any state office with an equal amount of public dollars.
Earlier this week, PCAF sent out about 10,000 mailers to voters in Sen. Mark Grisanti’s district.
“So I’ve got a message for the Public Campaign Action Fund: don’t waste your money here in Western New York or in the 60th district,” Grisanti said Saturday. “No matter what type of mail you send and fabrication and the lies that go with it, I’ll never support that legislation.”
PCAF’s mailers accuse Grisanti of being “part of the pay-to-play culture in Albany,” by accepting more than $1 million “in campaign cash from special interests. The irony is the fact that they’re financing this endeavor through private organizations themselves,” Grisanti said. “Furthermore, I find it quite offensive that this organization, that has their liberal New York City and Washington-based roots, has the audacity to think that they could come into Western New York, like others in the past, stroll in here and try to threaten or intimidate the vote.”
The Buffalo Niagara Partnership and Unshackle Upstate both released statements Saturday denouncing the Fair Elections Proposal.
“The Buffalo Niagara Partnership couldn’t be more opposed to the public financing of political campaigns, which we believe will create more opportunities for political corruption and waste,” said Dottie Gallagher-Cohen, President & CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. “We applaud Senator Mark Grisanti for his public stance against using tax payer dollars for political campaigns, and we are committed to working with the Senator, the rest of the Legislature, and the Governor in ensuring this flawed proposal is finally put to bed.”
“Taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize partisan political activity such as high-priced political consultants, attack ads and robo-calls,” said Brian Sampson, Executive Director of Unshackle Upstate. “There are simply far too many other areas, like roads and bridges, that need our tax dollars. Wasting money so that disgraced former politicians like Anthony Weiner can continue to fuel his personal ego is outrageous. We encourage our elected officials to join Senator Grisanti and stand up for hard-working families and reject any proposal that would advance taxpayer-funded political campaigns.”