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Dowd Slams Ravenstahl's Half-hearted Campaign Finance Legislation:
‘Luke's Half a Million Dollar Veto Says it All;
Outlines reform agenda.
March 25, 2009 - In response to yesterday’s post agenda on Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s campaign finance bill, Democratic Mayoral candidate Patrick Dowd called the Ravenstahl bill “a hollow gesture that falls short of real reform.”
Last year, Ravenstahl vetoed a bill supported by a majority of council that imposed federal contribution limits, $2,300 per person per cycle, on municipal elections. Since his June veto, Ravenstahl has raised approximately $500,000 according to public filings.
“Luke’s attention to reform is a year late and $500,000 short,” Dowd said. “When the council passed sweeping reform in June, he blocked it, only so city contractors could keep funneling cash into his campaign."
Ravenstahl’s current proposal is a watered down version of the legislation he vetoed last year. It allows for double the limit for individual contributions, and fails to provide for transparency in electronic reporting.
More importantly, Ravenstahl's legislation places no restrictions on the awarding of no-bid contracts to contributors. In light of recent press coverage, this means the legislation fails to address the rampant pay-to-play politics currently going on in Pittsburgh.
In response to what he termed a “complete failure of leadership” on campaign finance and eliminating the appearance of impropriety in contracting, Dowd outlined his campaign finance reform agenda:
In a Dowd Administration
1) I will introduce comprehensive, common sense campaign finance legislation that is tied to federal contribution limits within the first 100 days;
2) I will end the practice of awarding no-bid contracts to campaign contributors;
3) I will ensure that every contract over $25,000 will be competitively bid;
4) As an incumbent Mayor, I will not solicit campaign contributions from any firm that does business with the City of Pittsburgh or its Authorities;
5) I will make all finance reports electronically available to the public on the state and county filing dates;
6) I will ensure the creation of and integrate searchable electronic databases of all city contracts and all campaign contributions of all city elected officials.
7) I will publish my public schedule on the city's website so that any Pittsburgher can see who I am meeting with.