On Friday, The New York Times editorialized in favor of public financing in New York State in perhaps its strongest terms yet. The editorial calls for public matching funds to be the Moreland Commission’s “No. 1 proposal,” despite any resistance from Albany politicians. The Times points out the power of campaign finance reform to protect the public fisc from special interests:
[M]ost deep-pocketed donors cost the taxpayer dearly. They do so by demanding special treatment — enacting this law, undoing that one — in ways that benefit them, not all of us. More to the point, Albany’s lawmakers fear that public financing of campaigns will encourage real challengers to run against them. The commission’s job is to encourage just such challenges.
The editorial holds up the example of Moreland Commission Co-chair William Fitzpatrick as a fiscal conservative who supports matching small private donations with public funds as a way to address the corrupting campaign funding that currently rules in Albany. With the deadline for the commission’s first report looming, the Times calls for a strong recommendation of public financing from Moreland and commitment from the governor to pass this essential reform.
Newspapers all over the state have strongly supported public campaign financing:
- The Buffalo News wrote, “A key point is to establish a system of public financing of elections.”
- The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle wrote that meaningful reforms are “badly needed,” including to “level the playing field for underfunded would-be challengers.”
- The Syracuse Post-Standard called public financing “the best defense against corruption.”
- The Albany Times Union has called public financing “the best hope for reform.”
Capital New York reports on some of the corrupting features of Albany that the Moreland Commission appears to be investigating, from outside income to the failure of campaign laws to place any limits on big-money donations.
Ken Lovett cites an anonymous source as saying that more than half of the lawmakers who received requests for information about their outside salaries from the Moreland Commission have provided the information or are in the process of complying.
Over the next several weeks, the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law will send regular updates to this list of Friends of Reform in New York State on efforts to secure comprehensive campaign finance reform centered on public financing of elections. These updates will be sent to good government advocates, allies of the Fair Elections New York campaign, legislative and opinion leaders, scholars and engaged students, reporters, and other advocates for reform. They will also be posted on the Brennan Center’s New York blog at ReformNY.blogspot.com.