Media from around the state and the country have covered NY LEAD and the push for public campaign financing in New York. Here’s what some of them have to say:
The latest scandals from Albany have generated a slew of proposals to clear out New York’s political swamp…Of all the proposed reforms, the most critical is to open up elections so that voters have real choices. And that means creating a workable public financing system to encourage more candidates to come forward, much as New York City did almost 25 years ago.
There is so much money flowing to politicians that it takes a truly flagrant abuse of the system to draw the attention of investigators. Make no mistake – many legislators go into office with the idea of doing good and serving their communities. But at some point, the drive to win re-election means those noble intentions often get left behind. The public is left to watch as legislators head into court.
How much longer can state legislators resist the relentless push for public campaign financing? What better evidence can there be of the need for such reform than this case, in which one of their own, the onetime Senate president and Democratic leader, stands accused of trying to bribe Republican leaders to get a place on the ballot as a GOP candidate for mayor of New York City?
New York has a chance to be a model for the rest of the country. The most recent presidential election underscored the damage being done to democracy by big-money politics.
Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch urged Gov. Andrew Cuomo to support campaign finance reforms for New York State:
Nearly 25 years ago, we helped craft a campaign finance system for New York City that has enhanced our democracy ever since. By sharply limiting the amount any one person can contribute — and providing public matching funds for small donations — we empowered New Yorkers of all income levels and minimized the role of big money in city elections. Unfortunately, New York State legislators never followed suit. As a result, our system of electing state officials is broken in a way that is undermining the democratic process … Earlier this year, Gov. Cuomo pledged his support for lower contribution limits and public financing. We must hold the governor to his word.
Here’s one way Gov. Andrew Cuomo can match the acclaim he achieved by getting same-sex marriage approved in New York State: persuade the State Legislature to make New York’s system of electing legislators the fairest and most transparent in the country… By setting a national standard for public financing, New York State could go from laggard to leader.
A victory in New York, reformers say, could ripple throughout the country in the larger campaign to neutralize Citizens United and other decisions like it and revamp how elections get funded.
No state capital cries out for a campaign finance crackdown more desperately than New York’s. With sky-high contribution limits, yawning loopholes, anything-goes spending rules and laughable enforcement, it’s the wild west of political cash. Now, a group of would-be reformers is taking up the cause of partial public financing of state elections, following a model that has worked reasonably well in New York City since 1988.
They say New York, which they call a symbol of institutionalized corruption, could become a national model for the effort to free elections from the grip of big money. The campaign will start next week with mailings to the constituents of four state senators.
When Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo named public financing of elections as a priority in his State of the State address, many activists cheered. This approach — along with independent redistricting — would help increase participation by voters of color, renew trust in the electoral process and force state officials to govern more responsibly.
…as governor, [Cuomo] has the obligation to end this corrupting mess, as even some of the wealthiest New Yorkers made clear in a press conference on Wednesday in Albany. He also needs to get the Legislature engaged on this issue and pass necessary reforms.
The push to improve the state’s campaign finance laws has gained an unlikely ally: some of New York’s wealthiest political donors.