Most observers believe that Senator Smith could not win the New York City mayor’s race as a democrat running on the Republican line. But winning was not the goal; it has been alleged that his sole intent on getting into the race was to benefit from the public financing of receiving public funds for every dollar raised. With that taxpayer money, any mayoral candidate – in this case, probably Senator Smith - could spend lavishly on campaign “expenses” that could include dinners, trips and travel.
I should admit that I have always been against giving taxpayer funds to public campaigns. I just don’t believe that the Founding Fathers ever envisioned an election system where we take taxes from hardworking families and give it to private individuals so they can run for elected office.
It’s my sincere hope that the Legislature turns to real and substantial issues. Public corruption needs to be punishable to the fullest extent of the law, but local district attorneys and the state attorney general should be granted more power to nab crooked officials. Those elected officials guilty of a crime should be made to forfeit any public pension. But additionally, bribing a public official, scheming to corrupt the government and failing to report public corruption should be explicitly outlawed – currently, they are not.
When it comes to public integrity, there is no grey area – it’s either right or wrong. That’s why it’s vitally important that we reform New York law to further enhance ethics regulations to keep our elected officials honest. You deserve nothing less from your elected officials who you have placed your trust and vote in. You can’t – and shouldn’t – accept anything less.