Comptroller Public Financing Bill: A Good Start for New York State

June 15, 2011

Contact: Erik Opsal, erik.opsal@nyu.edu, 646-292-8356

New York, NY – In response to Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli's proposed bill to create a voluntary public financing system for New York State's Comptroller’s race, the Brennan Center for Justice released the following statement in support of the measure from Lawrence Norden, deputy director of the Center’s Democracy Program.

“Political corruption is rampant in New York, and something must be done to stop it. Comprehensive public financing, modeled on the small donor matching program that has been so successful in New York City, is a clear way to combat corruption, and this bill is a great place to start. We applaud Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli’s initiative in introducing this bill.

“Small donor matching programs have been a tremendous success. They reduce the potential for corruption associated with private campaign contributions, a risk that is exacerbated by New York State’s excessively high campaign contribution limits, and encourage qualified candidates to run for office regardless of their access to wealth. They also increase public debate and political competition, and encourage small donors and average citizens to participate meaningfully in elections.

“Given the particular risk and past history of corruption associated with the administration of billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money by the office of the Comptroller in New York, this contest is an appropriate starting point for public financing in our elections. We hope this program will ultimately be extended to New York’s other statewide and legislative elections as part of a comprehensive campaign finance reform initiative.”

For more information, please contact Erik Opsal at erik.opsal@nyu.edu or 646-292-8356.