Although no system can stop individuals from behaving badly, public financing combined with strong enforcement, disclosure, and reasonable contribution limits can change Albany's "show me the money" culture.
With Albany rocked by scandal over the last month, many believe the time for comprehensive campaign finance reform, with better enforcement, lower limits, and public financing at its core, may finally have come.
Republican mayoral candidate George McDonald claims he cannot run a competitive campaign under New York City's campaign contribution limits. But these limits are proven to help challengers like McDonald.
Spending by shadowy outside groups has become increasingly pervasive everywhere, including in New York elections. Unless we change the system with reforms like meaningful disclosure rules and public campaign financing, this crisis will only grow worse.
After a corruption scandal rocked New York City, Mayor Ed Koch helped develop a new campaign finance system using public matching grants. With many voters lacking faith in Albany due to the power of big money, we need a similar system statewide.
The Independent Democratic Conference will caucus with the Republican Party, promising that the new power-sharing agreement would finally end Albany dysfunction and bring needed attention to key issues like campaign finance reform.
The latest Albany scandals are stark reminders of the need for transparency and ethics in the Empire State. As Albany’s dysfunction continues to breed public apathy and cynicism, now is the time to re-engage citizens and fight corruption through a Fair Elections system of public financing state elections.