Gov. Cuomo Holds Phone Conference: Campaign Finance Reform is Important to Complete

Campaign Finance Reform Important Issue To Complete, Gov. Andrew Cuomo Says

The New York Daily News

Kevin Lovett

March 11, 2013

Gov. Cuomo just gave a pep rally speech over the phone on campaign finance reform to what advocates say was 1,000 people.

“To me, it’s probably one of the most important issues to complete,” Cuomo said, adding that he is “cautiously optimistic” it can get done this year.

He spoke about 10 minutes but took no questions before jumping off the line.

The governor equated efforts to get campaign finance reform passed to that of same-sex marriage and gun control.

“You build the political will,” he said.

Unlike most issues, he said there really should be no policy debate on the issue. “I don’t think there’s anyone who argues that the New York State campaign finance laws are working particularly well,” he said.

But Republicans have differ on the lack of policy debate. They argue the taxpayers shouldn’t be funding political campaigns.

Cuomo reiterated his call for public financing of campaigns similar to that in the city. He is calling for 48-hour donation disclosure, lower contribution level and a tougher board of elections.

Public financing, he said, would take $30 million out of $140 billion plus budget.

He reiterated that the US Supreme Court Citizens United decision allowing unfettered independent expenditures is a “license to bring millions and millions of dollars” into the system unchecked.

Talking up the power of “small donors” in President Obama’s successful campaign last year, Cuomo urged the various groups and individuals on the phone to engage in a massive grassroots campaign to raise voter awareness and pressure the politicians into supporting campaign finance reforms.

“Campaign finance is a way to tell people that it’s your government. You own it—literally,” Cuomo said.
Before getting off the phone, Working Families Party Executive Director Dan Cantor assured Cuomo that “we have your back on this.”

The call was also sponsored by Citizens Action.

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