Some might call it chutzpah. State Sen. Mark Grisanti recently sent out mailers condemning sensible campaign finance reform. Grisanti boasted he will “protect your tax dollars” from being used “to fund political campaigns across the state.”
Earlier this week, the City Council unanimously passed an ordinance clearing the way for the public financing of council elections. This proposal is a major step toward ensuring everybody is able to participate in the democratic process.
The Senate's "independent" bloc may block the most promising reform of its generation — campaign finance reform with public financing at its core — one its own members have introduced. In effect, they may filibuster themselves.
Last Wednesday, a few hundred people rallied at the capitol and met with lawmakers, telling them not to leave Albany before the legislative session ends June 20 without enacting public campaign financing.
Even though the New York Senate is a cesspool of corruption, Majority Co-Leader Dean Skelos is fighting against reform. In between the misleading bluster and hyperbole, he makes three main claims that are easily debunked.
In a recent post, Ezra Klein said we got "too excited" over big money in the 2012 election. But it's about more than just election outcomes. Money still distorts public policy, as we've seen this year.
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.
The New Mexico House passed a bill establishing a campaign finance system where participating candidates would receive an initial public finance grant from the state, and then get a four to one match for small donor contributions of up to $100.
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.