NY LEAD Announces New Members as Albany, Shaken by Money Scandals, Considers Campaign Finance Reforms

NY LEAD Announces New Members as Albany, Shaken by Money Scandals, Considers Campaign Finance Reforms

Business Leaders Call on Legislature to Pass Small Donor Matching System

For Immediate Release: April 11, 2013

Contact: Erik Opsal, erik.opsal@nyu.edu646-292-8356

New York, NY – New York Leadership for Accountable Government (NY LEAD) today announced several new and prominent members, adding their names to a growing list of business and civic leaders demanding comprehensive reforms to the way Empire State elections are financed, including a voluntary small donor matching system.

NY LEAD is a coalition of business, civic, and philanthropic leaders calling for public matching funds as the centerpiece of a campaign finance overhaul in New York. Now that legislators have completed work on the 2013 budget, advocacy groups, including NY LEAD, are stepping up pressure in Albany to pass comprehensive reform before the session ends in June.

New NY LEAD members (affiliations for identification purposes only):

  • Gerald Benjamin, Distinguished Professor of Political Science at SUNY New Paltz
  • Cynthia DiBartolo, CEO of Tigress Financial Partners, Chairperson of the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce
  • Patricia Duff, Founder of The Common Good
  • Dennis Mehiel, Chairman and CEO of U.S. Corrugated, Chairman and CEO of Battery Park City
  • Donald Rubin, Co-founder, Rubin Museum of Art
  • Shelley Rubin, Co-founder, Rubin Museum of Art
  • Michael Solender
  • Delroy Warmington, Managing Partner of Delwar Capital Management LLC

“We must end the wasteful political arms race that forces so many businesses and business owners to siphon more and more money into election campaigns,” said Dennis Mehiel. “A system of small donor matching funds is a good answer. It will encourage business growth, help constituents hold candidates and officeholders accountable, and ensure fair legislation in Albany. I am honored to contribute to NY LEAD, a crucial voice in the fight for reform.”

“Our leaders in Albany need be assured that as they address campaign finance reform in a meaningful way, businesses small and large, from Niagara to Montauk will be there to support them,” said Cynthia DiBartolo. “As a business leader, it is incumbent upon me to be part of an agenda that will effectively strive to achieve meaningful reforms, such as implementing small donor matching funds, reducing contribution limits, increasing transparency, putting in place fair and nonpartisan enforcement of the rules, and closing loopholes.”

2012 CED poll found 72 percent of New York business leaders support creating a public matching funds system for state elections. A December 2012 poll found 79 percent of New Yorkers overall support comprehensive reform, with strong majorities, greater than 70 percent, across Republicans, Democrats, and independents.

NY LEAD is calling on the legislature to pass a bill that includes:

1.       Public Matching Funds for Elections  establishing a voluntary system that will encourage candidates to fund their campaigns through a broad base of small donors, similar to New York City’s successful system.

2.       Lower Contribution Limits  bringing New York state’s sky-high contribution limits down to reasonable levels.

3.       Ending Pay-to-Play  lowering contribution limits for corporations and individuals who do business with the state of New York.

4.       Stronger Enforcement and Transparency – ensuring that our laws are enforced in a fair, effective, and timely manner, and that public matching funds are appropriately disbursed.

NY LEAD is a committee organized by the Brennan Center, Common Cause NY, the Committee for Economic Development, Public Campaign, Americans for Campaign Reform, and others.  NY LEAD brings together voices of business, civic, and philanthropic leaders from all corners of the state on the issue of campaign finance reform. A full list of membership can be found here. Find more updates on NY LEAD’s websiteTwitter, and Facebook page.

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