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Disclosing campaign transactions

It's politicians who usually complain the loudest when other politicians don't disclose all of their campaign transactions. You've probably heard their complaints:

   Hidden contributions. Indecipherable expenses. Campaign money spent for personal needs.

   And confusing transfers of money designed to circumvent State Election rule 14-120: "No person shall in any name except his own, directly or indirectly, make a payment or a promise of payment to a candidate or political committee..."


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   While it's politicians who usually complain the loudest, the laws belong to the public.

   The voters, more than the political class, deserve full disclosures of campaign donations and spending.

   By visiting www.elections.state.ny.us, anyone can monitor the special-interest money lavished on their politicians and make good guesses about the influence of that money on public policy.

   It works best, however, when campaign treasurers fully disclose their transactions. Unfortunately, the state Board of Elections is famous as a less-than-aggressive cop.

   So while Steve Pigeon's critics in the political world have howled the loudest about the once-secret transactions that the Erie County Board of Elections has uncovered with his two campaign funds, who's the victim here?

   Other politicians? Or the voters?

  - Matt Spina

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