Gov. Cuomo: Keep Bold Promise to Enact Campaign Finance Reform

February 18, 2014

Cuomo Must Stand Firm And Ensure Comprehensive Reform Is Passed In This Year’s Budget

Legislative Leaders Also Urged To Pass Budget Language That Includes Comprehensive Campaign Finance Reform

Groups United In Support Of Public Financing, Improved Enforcement, Lower Contribution Limited And Increased Disclosure

ALBANY – The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), the League of Women Voters, New York Common Cause/NY, Citizens Union, and Fair Elections for New York today joined forces to urge Governor Cuomo to continue fighting for the inclusion of comprehensive campaign finance reform in this year’s budget. The groups called on Governor Cuomo and the Legislature to enact comprehensive reforms as a package because only as a whole will they be most effective at curbing the influence of big-dollar campaign contributions in Albany.

The coalition urged Gov. Cuomo to stay strong in this momentous fight to forever change the current culture of corruption. The coalition also insisted that the legislative leaders join the Governor in restoring public integrity to Albany by keeping campaign finance reform in this year’s state budget language. Governor Cuomo, Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senator Co-President Jeff Klein have long supported campaign finance reform. They must now seize the moment together and secure the support of Senator Skelos and his Senate Republican colleagues and pass a state budget that enacts wide-ranging campaign finance reform and changes the way business is done in Albany.

The following are excerpts from the letter to Governor Cuomo and the legislative leaders, unveiled at today’s press conference, and signed by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, Citizens Union of the City of New York, Common Cause/NY, Fair Elections for New York, the League of Women Voters/N.Y.S., and the New York Public Interest Research Group:

ON PUBLIC FINANCING: “A voluntary program for candidates that matches small donations from natural persons residing in New York State with public funds will encourage small donors to contribute and participate in the electoral process.” 

ON ENFORCEMENT: “New York State’s enforcement of campaign finance laws is notoriously lax, leading to corruption and abuses of the system.  We need a new, independent oversight and enforcement body with strong effective responsibility for all campaign finance law administration including public financing.”

ON CONTRIBUTION LIMITS: “New York State’s loopholes and exorbitant contribution limits encourage politicians and parties to seek huge funds from their contributors.   We need to set reasonable limits on contributions that will allow citizens to show their political support without being shaken down for unlimited donations or discouraged from participating at all.”

ON THE NEED FOR STRENGTH: “We have no doubt there will be pressure to eliminate or weaken the proposals you have included in your budget.  We urge you to stand by your principles and ensure the measures listed above are included in the Article VII Public Protection and General Government budget bill for an up or down vote before April 1.”