NY’s campaign-‘reform’ commission is stonewalling a watchdog

In yet another sign that the commission rewriting New York’s campaign finance laws is operating with unseemly secrecy, the Government Justice Center is having to sue for documents “introduced at the Commission’s first official meeting and related communications.”

The Public Campaign Finance Commission rejected the watchdog group’s request for those records under the state Freedom of Information Law, which could drag out compliance until after Dec. 1, when the commission is supposed to issue its rewrite.

At least the PCFC finally got its website up in time for its second “public” meeting on Tuesday, with decent video posted the next day of both sessions. But the video of the first meeting is pretty obviously from a cellphone, with poor video and blurry graphics.

Not to mention the fact that the commissioners spent much of that meeting behind closed doors. And, per the GJC suit, they have yet to appoint a public records officer, as legally required. Plus, of course, the stonewalling that prompted the lawsuit.

This entire project — a commission named to rewrite state law, with its plan binding unless the Legislature rushes back for a special session to override it — is already ridiculously overcomplicated. It’s even more outrageous that key parts of it are being done out of the public’s view.

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