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New Center to Co-Sponsor Conference on Campaign Financing


Fordham University’s Center for Electoral Politics and Democracy and the New York City Campaign Finance Board are co-sponsoring an all-day conference, “Citizen-Owned Elections: Public Financing Past, Present and Future,” at the McNally Amphitheatre on the Lincoln Center campus on Thursday, Feb. 21.

The conference consists of a series of panels that will address issues such as the beginnings of New York’s campaign finance program, small donors and democracy, matching funds versus clean money, public financing in federal elections, and independent expenditures and disclosure. The roster of high-profile panelists include Joseph A. O’Hare, S.J., former president of Fordham University and the first chairman of the New York City Campaign Finance Board, former Mayor Edward I. Koch, former New York City Campaign Finance Board Executive Director Nicole Gordon, New School President and former U.S. Sen. Bob Kerrey, and U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays.

The keynote address will be given by Dennis M. Burke, who helped organize the successful 1998 ballot initiative to provide public funding for political campaigns in Arizona and a successful ballot initiative in 2000 to reform Arizona’s political redistricting system. In 2004, Burke worked on the U.S. Senate campaign of 90-year-old Doris “Granny D” Haddock in New Hampshire. Haddock’s grassroots campaign was the subject of a documentary, Run, Granny, Run, clips of which will be screened at the conference and introduced by the film’s director, Marlo Porlas.

“Citizen-Owned Elections” is the inaugural event of the Center for Electoral Politics and Democracy, which was formally approved by the University in January.

“The Center will promote the interdisciplinary exchange of dialogue and ideas about elections, campaigns and democracy amongst scholars and practitioners around the globe,” said Costas Panagopoulos, Ph.D., an assistant professor of political science who is the director of the Center and of the Elections and Campaign Management Program at Fordham. “As the Campaign Finance Board marks its 20th anniversary, we join forces to bring together the best minds to exchange ideas about the lessons learned in New York City and how they might provide a model for campaign finance programs at any level of government.”

“This event is a perfect way for us to commemorate two decades of New York City’s landmark campaign finance program, and take a good look at how the program can meet the challenges ahead,” said Amy Loprest, executive director of the New York City Campaign Finance Board. “To the extent we’ve had success, we feel it’s important to bring people together to share what’s worked, and talk about how we can serve the public even better.”

The conference, which starts at 8:30 a.m., is free and open to the public. Registration and additional information is available at

For the past 20 years, the New York City Campaign Finance Board has administered what is widely regarded as one of the best campaign finance systems in the nation. The City’s landmark Campaign Finance Program ensures the public interest retains a powerful voice in the political process by matching small donations from City residents to candidates. The program encourages more citizens to run for office, and empowers voters with the knowledge to make informed choices through extensive disclosure and voter education efforts. “Since its creation,” wrote The New York Times, “New York City’s system of public campaign financing has become an indispensable feature of local politics, and a model for campaign reformers nationwide.” For more information about the New York City Campaign Finance Board, visit


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