Published in The Wall Street Journal
April 18, 2012
ALBANY, N.Y. — A coalition of advocacy groups will aim 1 million emails at New Yorkers on Wednesday, urging them to prod Gov. Andrew Cuomo to pursue public financing of political campaigns.
The effort that national groups including MoveOn.org, Progressives United and Demos are launching Wednesday is meant to push the Democrat as he considers a campaign finance reform bill he said he’ll present to the state Legislature.
“I think there’s a tremendous appetite nationally for change in the money-and-politics system,” said Nick Nyhart, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Public Campaign, a nonprofit group that is organizing the campaign. He said Cuomo support is key in New York and nationally.
“If he really commits himself and the Legislature acts, he will probably be the leader nationally in this progressive reform,” Nyhart said.
The groups seek public financing of campaigns patterned after New York City’s system and where donations are matched by public funds. The groups also want lower contribution limits to reduce the influence of high-rolling interests.
Cuomo had made changing the way campaigns are financed a major issue in his 2010 campaign. But he’s met opposition in the Legislature, where the Senate’s Republican majority and the Assembly’s Democratic majority disagree on how to change the system. The Senate GOP hasn’t embraced public financing of campaigns before, but its leaders say it will consider new proposals.
Cuomo says he’s working on a package that could pass the Legislature before the regular session ends in late June.
With reform, the Working Families Party and other supporters say New York could go from some of the most lax enforcement of campaign finance rules to a national model.