Facing criticism over a limited-capacity hearing on New York City’s campaign finance system, Senate Republicans fired back at good-government groups and reform advocates who weren’t allowed in.
The hearing, held in a room in the Capitol often used for committee meetings, was disrupted a few times by protesters who chanted in the hallway and, at one point, outside an open window. It was closed off to good-government advocates and proponents of a public campaign-finance system after Senate Republicans say the room reached capacity.
Senate Republicans spokesman Scott Reif issued this statement:
“It won’t come as a shock to anyone that this complaint comes from organizations who support using taxpayer dollars to fund political campaigns. They say they support free speech, yet they attempted to disrupt a hearing and prevent members of the Elections Committee from taking testimony on the City’s taxpayer-funded election system. This hearing was webcast live and we made every effort to get as many people into the room as possible, including every reporter who wanted to attend. As the room reached occupancy, we were instructed to close the room.”
Only senators, witnesses, legislative staff and the media were let into the hearing room. A coalition of seven groups, including Common Cause and the New York Public Interest Research Group, filed a complaint with the state’s Committee on Open Government.