The Proposal for 2019

Never before has comprehensive campaign finance reform for New York state elections been more necessary – or more possible.  The past few years alone have seen more than a dozen scandals and convictions linked with money in politics.  High limits and big loopholes enable a political climate that gives even upstanding businesses a bad name, creates inefficiencies, and undermines the public’s trust in government.

To reform Albany and improve our political process, the Brennan Center for Justice and New York Leadership for Accountable Government (NY LEAD) endorse a voluntary small donor matching system for New York State elections as the centerpiece of a campaign finance law overhaul.

A small donor match system will put the needs of real voters — the business owners and workers who drive New York’s economy — back on the agenda. It will create a more honest and transparent government by reducing the influence of the select few who spend enormous amounts of money to gain outsize influence over policy. And it will end the wasteful arms race that forces so many businesses and business owners to siphon more and more money into politics.

After the 2018 elections, Albany’s elected leaders have the political mandate to finally enact the comprehensive campaign finance reform package that Governor Andrew Cuomo most recently announced in his January 2018 State of the State address:

  • 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 NYC’s successful system.
  • Lower Contribution Limits – bringing New York State’s sky-high contribution limits down to reasonable levels.
  • Ending Pay-to-Play – lowering contribution limits for corporations and individuals who do business with the state of New York.
  • 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 using a system that is straightforward for candidates to comply with and accessible for voters.

For more information on small donor match public financing and other campaign finance reform solutions, please visit the Brennan Center’s resource page.

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