Citizen’s Union, New York City’s leading good government group, issued the following statement on the passing of Father Joseph A. O’Hare, S.J:
“We are devastated to learn about the passing of Father Joseph A. O’Hare, S.J. He was a reformer of the truest sense – a good government guru and a great inspiration to us all.
“Father Joseph A. O’Hare, S.J., was the inspired choice of Mayor Ed Koch to be the founding Chair of the pioneer New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB) in 1988. Father O’Hare gets by far the credit for establishing the NYC reform program as a national and international model.
“Citizens Union works in close partnership with the CFB, the principal implementer of New York City’s campaign finance law, on a range of campaign finance and election reform issues. The CFB is considered one of the most progressive in the country, due, in large part, to Father O’Hare’s influence.
“The public record truly speaks for itself, including the many times when Father O’Hare had to face off against powerful interests. Each time, he challenged efforts to intimidate and undermine the CFB, and in each instance he prevailed. These occasions included attempts by elected officials to replace him as Chair, to move the Board’s offices to uninhabitable quarters, to stop valid matching funds checks to candidates, and to stack the Board with a new member in the midst of public hearings on apparent (and, later, confirmed) substantial violations of the campaign finance law.
“Under him, the Board assessed significant penalties against three sitting mayors. Under him, the Board and staff managed the CFB mandate through an unprecedented set of elections immediately following the September 11, 2001, primary day in New York. When the Board published its the post-September 11 formal report, it was dedicated it to him, for providing “resolute stability and clarity in response to unpredictable political currents, and always, with generous humor.”