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Local News

April 3, 2014

Eldridge decries 'big money' in politics

Democrat congressional candidate Sean Eldridge criticized the U.S. Supreme Court ruling Wednesday that lifted the cap on individual campaign donations — a rebuke that drew its own sharp retort from the National Republican Congressional Committee.

The exchange came after Eldridge, the husband of wealthy Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, lamented the high court decision in the case of McCutcheon v. the Federal Elections Commission leaves New Yorkers “drowned out by the big money and corporate interests in our politics.”

Eldridge’s statement was quickly followed by an emailed barb from NRCC spokesman Ian Prior, who called the Democrat “the single most hypocritical phony in American politics.”

Prior said Eldridge has tapped his own wallet for donations of more than $700,000 to his own congressional campaign and orchestrated a donation of $250,000 to a Democratic state Senate candidate.

Eldridge, 27, is seeking the Democratic nomination for the 19th Congressional District and hopes to challenge incumbent Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, this fall.

Eldridge’s wealth was also made an issue last fall for one of his fellow Democrats, Greene County lawyer Frank Steinherr, who had been eyeing a run for the seat himself when he warned local Democratic leaders that Republicans were out to portray his then rival as a “multimillionaire outsider trying to buy a congressional seat.”

Eldridge lashed out at Republicans for not enacting campaign finance reform that would overturn the high court’s decision issued four years ago in the Citizens United case. That ruling held that the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting campaign expenditures by corporations, associations or labor unions.

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