Letter: Public campaign financing assures accountability

No reform measure can prevent all corruption. But No reform measure can prevent all corruption. But a good system can punish bad behavior, reward good behavior, and provide more good people with the ability to seek public office. Photo Credit: iStock

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In the wake of the bribery scandals exposed last week, New York City's public matching funds system has been proposed as a model for political reform in Albany for good reason -- because it makes candidates more accountable to the voters they represent ["Investigate the public campaign finance system, Mr. Bharara," Opinion, April 7].

By matching small-dollar contributions with public funds, the system encourages candidates to spend more time listening to the everyday concerns of their neighbors, instead of rubbing elbows with big-money special interests. Strong disclosure rules give the public a clear view of where the money comes from.

The city Campaign Finance Board's independent, nonpartisan, rigorous enforcement is an important component of the program's success. It requires candidates who take public funds to account for each and every dollar they receive. If the money isn't put to sound use, the taxpayers get their money back.

No reform measure can prevent all corruption. But a good system can punish bad behavior, reward good behavior, and provide more good people with the ability to seek public office. New York City's small-dollar matching program does just that, putting voters -- not money -- at the center of our elections.

Amy M. Loprest, Manhattan

Editor's note: The writer is the executive director of the New York City Campaign Finance Board.

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