ALBANY, N.Y. - It was on the heels of State Senator Malcolm Smith's alleged bribery scandal that 50 people packed into a room inside the Albany Public Library Tuesday night to discuss campaign finances and a fair election process.
Among the citizens that listened to State Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk and Assembly members Phil Steck and John McDonald was Willie White, a community actitivist, who urged lawmakers to make state politics more transparent so citizens could take back their government.
"I just think there is a lot of stuff behind the scene the average citizen will never know about," said White.
While the focus remained on public funds matching small donations to political campaigns and finance reform, few could ignore the news of Senator Smith and five others arrested by the FBI for a massive bribery scheme.
"It's terrible, really terrible as a matter of fact I hung out with him at a Black and Puerto Rican caucus," explained White.
"It's very upsetting if the allegations are true," said Assembly member John MCDonald.
Some argued, in light of Tuesday's arrests, campaign reform is needed now more than ever.
"When you have things like that happen it makes people wonder," said Tkaczyk.
Lobbyist will take up the issue with lawmakers in Albany this May. Assembly members say they could possibly vote on the issue of campaign finance reform by June.