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Skelos says no contradictions with candidate using public campaign finance

The leader of the state Senate Republicans offered some hope that New York’s public campaign finance system could be expanded before the session is over.  

Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos says talks are ongoing about expanding public campaign finance to more statewide races in New York. Skelos, who’s said a plan pushed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo would be a waste of the taxpayers’ money, says he’s open to other means of funding, like a voluntary tax form check off.

Skelos says it’s not a contradiction that the Republican candidate for comptroller, Bob Antonacci, will participate in a pilot public finance program funded by the state’s unclaimed funds.

“I think it was brilliant in setting up that pilot program,” Skelos said. “We don’t consider that taxpayer financing.”

Skelo’s co-leader, Independent Democratic Sen. Jeff Klein, has pushed for adopting a New York City style of a matching small donor program. Skelos says that difference will not blow apart the Senate’s ruling coalition.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.