So, let me get this straight. If veritablepastiche was a business, and I had $25,000 laying around and could pass myself off as a business ‘leader’, I could participate in the ‘essential policy conversations’ and briefings that will help shape the Democrat’s 2010 re-election strategy?
Apparently the Dems will be forming ‘advisory councils’ to help them figure out how to keep control of Albany – even while the same Senators are still in session, working on the people’s business.
According to published reports, donating or promising to raise the $25K allows participation in exclusive meetings with leadership, a policy briefing, free admission to campaign events in Albany and elsewhere, and a reception at the end of the legislative session.
Remarkably, the Dems defended their approach by citing prior, equally bad acts on the part of Republicans in Albany (and Washington), including efforts by the recently convicted, famously ethically challenged, former Senate Majority leader Joe Bruno, who similarly asked for $25,000 from donors in 2001. Even our Accidental Governor realizes how stinky this one is – he’s got his own challenges with smelly things – and condemned the actions, calling them “an outrage.”
Back in January, my Senator David Valesky included these comments in a press release regarding ethics reform legislation: “The public has the right to know who legislators are doing business with, and if those relationships are with people who also do business with the state,” Senator Valesky said. “As public officials, we need to encourage transparency, not hide from it.”
Senator Valesky, what’s your opinion on the ‘pay for access’ letter issued by your party and defended by your Conference Leader John Sampson as ‘just a fund-raising mechanism’? Do you think it’s appropriate for a letter like this to be sent during the legislative session? Will you and your counterparts be publishing a list of those who respond and contribute?
I'd love a helping of that promised transparency now.