House Passes Small Donor Public Financing for Federal Elections — the Reform New York State Is Considering

March 8, 2019

Governor Cuomo’s proposed budget and H.R. 1, the House’s omnibus democracy reform bill, both contain small donor public financing

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Today the House of Representatives passed the For the People Act (H.R. 1), a set of comprehensive democracy reforms. The legislation would transformvoting, redistricting, ethics rules, and campaign finance, with small donor public financing of federal campaigns as one of its foundational reforms.

During this month’s budget negotiations, the New York State legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo are considering small donor public financing for state campaigns. The proposal in the governor’s budget is a 6-to-1 match of donations of $175 or less with public money.

Lawrence Norden, deputy director of the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program, said:

“In H.R. 1, we have the greatest hits of democracy reform. It’s no accident that small donor public financingis central to this package — it’s the single best way we have to reduce the power of big money over politics.

“In New York State, small donor public financing is tantalizingly close to becoming reality. Our leaders must not fall down on the job — not so soon after we heralded the new, progressive, united Albany.

“For decades in New York politics, the voices of regular New Yorkers have been drowned out by the wealthy few. Crucial reforms have been stifled. That’s not what democracy looks like. Small donor public financing would help set New York straight. The state would become a leader for the whole nation to follow.”


The Brennan Center’s report, “The Case for Small Donor Public Financing in New York,” is available here: