Two hundred years ago Thomas Jefferson warned his contemporaries of the "excesses of monied interests" deterring elected officials from truly serving the public. Unfortunately, it seems two centuries have passed without much progress on this issue. . . All too often our representatives at all levels of government seem to be more concerned with seeing to the wishes of their wealthy campaign contributors-- instead of meeting the needs of ordinary taxpayers.
Unfortunately this seems to be the case right here in Dutchess County. Besides the payoffs already exposed in the Paroli/Redl/Raucci/Pickles/Kortright/Andros scandals, $24 million in county contracts over the last six years went to 29 companies, who gave our County Executive $54,000 in campaign donations over the same period.
Not only that, but 7 of the 29 companies mentioned above are from outside the county. What possible reason could those 7 companies have for giving our County Executive $14,000 over the last six years, other than the fact that they "just happen to be getting" more than $11 MILLION IN COUNTY CONTRACTS?...
A few national stats to chew on:
Three years ago heavily Republican Suffolk County voters approved the following referendum to clean up their county-- by a 2-to-1 margin (it's the same type of "Clean Money, Clean Elections" legislation that Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Arizona recently passed, only on a county level-- it's matching public funds for candidates who go out and get a certain number of small donations or signatures to prove grass-roots support, and who then voluntarily agree to limit the size of their donations and spending-- http://www.publicampaign.org, www.citizenactionny.org
"Shall Resolution No. [ ]-1998, Adopting a Charter law to Establish a Voluntary System of Public Financing and Campaign Contribution and Spending Limits, for the Election of County Officials Who Pledge to Refuse Donations from Political Action Committees, Firms Doing Business with Suffolk County, and Registered Lobbyists, Be Approved?"