March 27, 2013
New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman told participants on a conference call with Organizing for Action, a spin-off of President Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, that New York is close to making campaign finance reform a reality.
On the call with OFA executive director Jon Carson and David Donnelly of the Public Campaign Action Fund, Schneiderman said the groups need to keep pushing for reform in the final three months of the state legislative session.
“Victory is within our grasp,” he said.
Fair Elections for New York, a collection of progressive groups that includes Citizen Action of New York and the Working Families Party, announced Tuesday that OFA will be helping to push for passage of campaign finance reform this year. The coalition is pushing for public financing of elections, lower contributions and greater transparency.
Schneiderman, who said that public financing of elections is “essential in a post-Citizens United world,” believes the groups should develop a three-part strategy, including a long-term strategy to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.
The Court ruled in 2010 that the federal government can’t prevent corporations or unions from spending money on campaigns.
“I’m confident that it will be overturned,” Schneiderman said of the decision. “The lawyers in my office believe that it will be.”
Meanwhile, Schneiderman said, the state should take steps to enhance transparency and allow public financing of elections.
There is strong support for campaign finance reform in New York. A recent Siena Research Institute poll found 61 percent of New Yorkers support a public campaign financing system. Gov. Andrew Cuomo included proposals for reform in his State of the State address this year, including public financing of state campaigns, tougher disclosure requirements and lower contribution limits.
Cuomo has said that campaign finance reform will be a priority in the second half of the legislative session.