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Citizens Union

The Eye-Opener

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Senate Republicans held a hearing today on the New York City public campaign finance system in what seemed as an attempt to beat back the push by a number of advocacy groups and legislators for the state to adopt a similar system. Things probably didn't work out as Republicans had intended.

Testimony was by invite=only and a number of good government groups protested their exclusion.

Outside the small hearing room, six Senate sergeants-at-arms guarded the doorway. The public was told there was no room for them and were barred entry.  

"Let us in!" protesters shouted, the words thundering through the room from outside each time someone entered, causing consternation among speakers and legislators. Protesters discovered that the windows were open to the room and started their chant quietly outside the window. Some threw money and asked, "How much do you want to let us in? What does it cost?" Sergeants-at-arms were called in to drive away the protesters. They shut the window and eventually State Troopers responded. 

The push for campaign finance reform has come as a slew of Demcoratic legislators have been arrested by federal authorities on corruption charges. But Senate Republicans continue to be the main benefactors of large corporate donations that are currently allowed in loopholes under current law. 

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