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Brennan Center Disappointed in Decision to Shut Down Moreland Commission

Shutting down the Moreland Commission, and creating a pilot public financing program for Comptroller in 2014, will be counterproductive to the goal of comprehensive campaign finance reform.

March 30, 2014

The Brennan Center is extremely disappointed with the governor’s promise to shut down the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption if and when the legislature passes the budget bills currently before them.

In its preliminary report, the Moreland Commission carefully detailed the toxic influence of big money on the state’s political system, and how that influence is directly related to our broken campaign finance laws. It noted that “the real scandal is what remains legal. New York’s campaign finance laws and practices enable special interests and wealthy individuals to flood the political process with enormous amounts of money.” This observation will remain as true after the budget is passed as before. The bills do not reduce a single sky-high contribution limit or close a single contribution loophole.

Most importantly, the legislature has failed to adopt a comprehensive small donor matching system, which would have allowed the voices of average New Yorkers to counter the dominance of special interest money over the state’s policy decisions. The proposed pilot public financing program for Comptroller in 2014 only will not have time to be implemented properly, and includes loopholes that will ensure its failure. If anything, we view it as counterproductive to the goal of reform.