May 17, 2013
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says the state’s campaign finance system needs to be completely replaced, including ending pensions for state officials who are convicted for corruption.
The comptroller was in town Thursday to speak to business leaders in the Hotel Lafayette to ask them to support a replacement finance system built around a small-dollar public matching system. He says that would include strict limits on contributions.
The comptroller says the current system is so skewed that in a race for his post, the maximum donation allowed is $60,000. He favors a ceiling more like $2,000.
DiNapoli says limiting spending in campaigns along with public financing would create more people running for office.
“If you had a public financing system, it’ll start to level the playing field in terms of challengers versus incumbents. It’ll provide easier access to the system for men and women who want to come forward and not be intimidated by the prospect of having to spend a lot of time raising money. And, it will also put a premium on small donations,” DiNapoli says.
DiNapoli says Albany’s climate of corruption is an opening for change in the present. A poll from Lake Research Partners says only nine percent of New Yorkers want to keep the present system with around three-quarters wanting major or complete change.
Based on his analysis, the comptroller says a publicly-financed campaign system would cost taxpayers $41 million annually.