The latest Republican argument against publicly financed elections: John Liu

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The state's highest ranking Republican has a new argument for opposing the public financing of campaigns: John Liu.

In a statement, Senate majority co-leader Dean Skelos, a Republican, said the convictions of the New York City comptroller's campaign treasurer and donor for using "straw donors" is the "latest example of abuse in the city's public matching fund system."

Skelos, who struck a power-sharing deal with the four-member Independent Democratic Conference to hold onto power after last November's election, said, "additional disclosure and more transparency" is needed in state election laws "but the abuses that took place in the Liu campaign and in countless others which received public matching funds make it increasingly clear that we don’t need taxpayer-funded political campaigns."

Governor Andrew Cuomo has argued, recently with enthusiasm, that publicly financing elections would provide candidates with the incentive to seek smaller donations from a wider array of voters, and lessen the influence of rich donors.

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Liu, who has not been charged with any crime, has said he is the victim of overzealous prosecution, and that no campaign can stop an undercover agent "intent on deceiving" a campaign as part of a sting operation.