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Letter: Wealth tilts playing field in today’s electoral politics

I disagree with the Buffalo News Editorial Board’s position against “a strict policy of public financing.”

As was well documented in the editorial, unregulated donations through the “LLC Loophole” and disproportionately large personal donation limits are a scourge to electoral politics in the state. However, what goes without mention in the piece is the high bar of entry into politics these sources of money create.

This past election saw an upswell of insurgent candidates – many from humble backgrounds – challenging status quo politicians who have profited from the corruption in Albany. While several of these candidates succeeded, many were felled by the monetary advantage of an incumbent well-entrenched with special interests.

For example, the campaign finance website Followthemoney.org reveals that my state senator, Michael Ranzenhofer, received $11,000 from an organization, and $11,000 and $10,500 respectively from two individual donors. Simply limiting maximum allowable donations will do nothing to change the disproportionate influence wealthy donors and corporations have on a candidate.

The editorial states that public financing would restrict “the ability of voters to support candidates whose ideas they want to promote” – does that mean the ideas of wealthy donors are more promotable?

A system that matches small donor funds as proposed gives the people a louder voice against the wealthy and corporate interests. Closing the “LLC Loophole” and limiting personal contributions is not enough. We need to elevate politicians in Albany who look out for all of their constituents, not just those with the largest bank accounts.

Matthew Palermo

Amherst

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