The state Senate Republican Campaign Committee has received more than five times as much insurance company-funded money as the state Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, according to a report conducted by Citizen Action of New York and released Wednesday.

The state Senate Republican Campaign Committee has received more than five times as much insurance company-funded money as the state Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, according to a report conducted by Citizen Action of New York and released Wednesday.

State Senate Republicans received $618,152 in campaign contributions, while state Senate Democrats received $63,900, according to the report. State Sen. James L. Seward, R-Milford, was the top recipient with $60,700 from 2003 to 2007.

Meanwhile, state Assembly Democrats received $177,798 in campaign contributions while state Assembly Republicans received $39,325.

“All New Yorkers and New York businesses that pay health insurance premiums are paying out of their pockets for the high price of the current ‘pay-to-play’ campaign finance system,” said president of Central New York Citizens in Action John Furman, who is also on the board for the Oneida County Working Families political party line.

Regardless of contributions, Duncan Davie, Seward’s chief of staff, said Seward has still sponsored health insurance legislation that health insurance companies do not favor.

An O-D analysis in July also found that during the first half of 2008, nearly half of Seward’s campaign contributions came from insurance companies.

CANY conducted the report as part of an effort to gain state senate candidate support for a bill that would reform campaign contributions from the health insurance industry.

Campaign finance reform known as Clean Elections was re-introduced to Senate during this past legislative session, said CANY Campaign Director Jessica Wisneski. CANY hopes to see the bill pass through legislation next session.

CNYCA, an affiliate of the organization, conducted a news conference at the Utica Public Library to discuss the bill’s aim to reform campaign finance by suggesting public finance during elections. That would allow candidates to opt not to accept private donations such as those from the health insurance industry.

“That bill is really about using taxpayer dollars to fund politicians’ personal ambitions,” said Davie. “With the budget crisis New York faces and the need that exists for health care education … the state cannot afford a program of welfare for politicians.”

Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-Rome, said he did not support the bill.

“I don’t believe given the current fiscal condition of the state, the public wants to see their tax dollars funding political races,” he said. “It’s not a wise use of tax dollars.”

Griffo further cited Furman’s affiliation with the Working Families party line as a possible ulterior motive.

“When you have an individual who presents himself as part of a citizens group that is working against the senate majority … there may be political motivation behind that,” he said.

Griffo said Working Families is trying to unseat members of the majority, particularly Seward.

Seward’s opponent Don Barber, D-Caroline, is on the Working Families line. He held a new sconference Tuesday in Cortland citing support of a newly introduced universal health care plan currently before Congress. He also cited similar allegations about contributions of Republican senators, including Seward.

Both Don Barber’s campaign manager Tarah Rowse and Furman denied a connection in the timing of the two events.