Last week, during a radio interview Onondaga County DA William Fitzpatrick, co-chair of the Moreland Commission, said that he now favors public financing for political campaigns.
Fitzpatrick also revealed that the Moreland Commission’s investigations have uncovered criminality in campaign financing. But did not offer specifics.
Here are some exerpts from
Public financing of campaigns, Fitzpatrick added, would lessen the pay-to-play atmosphere in Albany that has led to criminal indictments. Comparing the cost of those crimes with the cost of public financing – "The savings ultimately would be astronomical in the long run," Fitzpatrick said.
Illegal use of housekeeping accounts
By law, political parties can raise money for housekeeping accounts to pay for staff or supplies that go to running the party.
"Unfortunately, we are discovering evidence that I’m not going to go into with any great detail of specificity, but will say that the evidence we’ve uncovered so far indicates that that, again, is a sham," Fitzpatrick said. "The housekeeping accounts are used for partisan political purposes, which is not legal."
There are no contribution limits to housekeeping accounts, which allows donors to dump thousands of dollars toward party politics, he said.
"I guess they think we can’t follow the money," Fitzpatrick said. "But we are."
Also, Fitzpatrick mentioned political candidates’ campaign spending for special scrutiny.
… [S]ome political candidates don’t list any specific reasons for reimbursements paid from their own campaign accounts, Fitzpatrick said. "There’s no specificity at all," he said. "We’re talking about thousands and in some cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars on unspecified reimbursements."
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