On Jan. 23, Reclaim New York gave a presentation at the Port Washington Public Library. Reclaim’s goals seem noble. They claim to promote government transparency so citizens can monitor spending.
Reclaim does this by filing Freedom of Information Law (“FOIL”) requests with towns, school boards and public libraries demanding spending information in specific formats. If the response is late or wrongly formatted, Reclaim sues—costing governments thousands in legal fees and hundreds of personnel hours.
In truth, Reclaim is a cover for the “alt-right” movement’s war on government. And despite their apparent devotion to transparency, when asked to disclose who their own sponsors were, they refused. We know, however, that Reclaim’s sponsors include billionaire Trump supporter Rebekah Mercer and Trump White House advisor Steve Bannon, who use Reclaim as a tool for advancing their anti-government agenda.
Well-attended, the meeting elicited curiosity. Some were interested in Reclaim’s message. Many were concerned that Reclaim’s tactics waste our precious tax dollars.
Port Washington has excellent schools and libraries. We do not need outside organizations interfering with our already financially transparent institutions. Reclaim and the “alt-right” do not share Port Washington’s values. I promise to be vigilant against the threat Reclaim poses to Port and urge my neighbors to do the same.