New York Leadership for Accountable Govern­ment (NY LEAD) is a bipartisan group of New York business, civic, philanthropic and cultural leaders who have come together to advocate for comprehensive reform to the way elections are funded in the Empire State. We want to join our collective voices to restore fairness and integrity to New York’s political process.

New York State’s current campaign finance system fuels cronyism and wastes taxpayer dollars on special interest projects. NY LEAD supports a better alternative for New York: campaign finance reform that gives all voters a voice and a seat at the table.

The Business Case for Campaign Finance Reform

Competitive elections are vital to the health of our democracy. That’s why business leaders, regardless of political affiliation, want to encourage accountability among candidates and legislators – and reduce the pay-to-play mentality that allows money in politics to control legislative decision making.

These reforms are more needed than ever after the US Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC. The decision reversed 100 years of precedent that limited how corporations, unions, trade associations, political organizations, and other groups may spend money to influence elections – placing even more pressure on the business community to consider campaign contributions as a cost of doing business and competing in the marketplace.

Many business leaders are rejecting this approach as nothing more than a “shake-down.” They are recognizing the financial and reputational risks of this type of political activity to their enterprises.

Business leaders can work to improve our most time-honored democratic and economic values by supporting these essential reforms:

  • Citizen-funded elections. A multiple matching program would empower small donors and encourage them to become more involved in the financing of political campaigns. This new way of electing our political leaders would expand the pool of possible candidates, particularly small business leaders. Once elected, office holders would not feel beholden to special interests and large donors. This approach is working well in New York City, where an overwhelming majority of voters in 2018 approved a measure to make public financing even stronger.  Small donor match is also taking off across the country, passed most recently by ballot measure in Denver and Baltimore and by legislature in Prince George’s County, Maryland.  New York State would be the first to enact small donor public financing statewide – an achievement that would win national notice, and one we are committed to winning.
  • Reasonable contribution limits. New York State’s soft money loopholes and exorbitant contribution limits encourage politicians to seek huge funds from their contributors. Setting reasonable limits will allow individuals to show their political support without being shaken down for unlimited donations.
  • End pay-to-play. Lower contribution limits for corporations and individuals who do business with the state of New York.
  • Stronger enforcement and transparency. We need fair and even-handed enforcement – as well as non-partisan administration that helps candidates and donors with compliance.

NY LEAD Members*
*Affiliations listed for identification purposes only.

Richard Aborn
President, Citizens Crime Commission of New York City

Alec Baldwin
Actor-Activist

Trey Beck
Chair, Innovations for Poverty Action Board of Directors
Former Managing Director, D.E. Shaw & Co.

Frances Beinecke
Former President, NRDC

Gerald Benjamin
Associate Vice President for Regional Engagement, SUNY New Paltz

Jeff Benjamin
Retired Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer, Avon Products, Inc.

Max Berger
Senior Founding Partner, Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP

Tom Bernstein
President and Co-Founder, Chelsea Piers, LP

Andrea Bonime-Blanc
Founder and CEO, GEC Risk Advisory LLC
Author, Board Member

Jacqueline E. Brevard
Senior Advisor, GEC Risk Advisory LLC

David L. Calone
President and CEO, Jove Equity Partners LLC

Daniel J. Castleman
Former Manhattan Chief Assistant District Attorney
Former Commissioner, Moreland Commission

Ellen Chesler
Senior Fellow, Roosevelt Institute

Diana Cihak
Founder, WEPAC and the WomenElect Program
President, Upper Edge Consulting LLC

John P. “Sean” Coffey
Partner, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP

Pierce Delahunt
Freelance Activist Educator
Member, Patriotic Millionaires

Craig Dessen
Consultant, Calibre One Inc.

Cynthia DiBartolo
Chairperson, Greater New York Chamber of Commerce
Founder & CEO, Tigress Financial Partners LLC

Anne Dinning
Vice Chair, Robin Hood Foundation Board

Patricia Duff
Founder, The Common Good

Dr. Hazel N. Dukes
President, NAACP New York State Conference

Hon. John R. Dunne
Senior Counsel, Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP
Former New York State Senator

C. Virginia Fields
President & CEO, National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc.

James A. Gardner
Bridget and Thomas Black SUNY Distinguished Professor, University at Buffalo School of Law Former Dean, University at Buffalo School of Law

Faith Gay
Founding Partner, Selendy & Gay PLLC

DeNora Getachew
New York City Executive Director, Generation Citizen

David Goodman
President, Andrew Goodman Foundation

Jeffrey Gural
Chairman, GFP Real Estate LLC

Steven Haft, Esq.
Head of Global Partnerships, Consensys

Angela Hansen
CEO, Global Knowledge Initiative

Hon. Jane D. Hartley
Former U.S. Ambassador to France and Monaco

Christie Hefner
Former Chairman and CEO, Playboy Enterprises

Anne H. Hess
Community Resource Exchange Board of Directors

Leo Hindery
Managing Partner, InterMedia Partners 

Hon. Elizabeth Holtzman
Counsel & Co-Chair, Government Relations Group, Herrick, Feinstein LLP
Former U.S. Representative, Kings County District Attorney, and New York City Comptroller

Chris Hughes
Co-founder, Facebook
Co-Chair, Economic Security Project

Chris Jackson
Actor

Seymour W. James
Partner, Barket Eptstein Kearon Aldea & LoTurco LLP

James E. Johnson
Of Counsel, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

Craig Kaplan
Of Counsel, Rabinowitz, Boudin, Standard, Krinsky & Lieberman P.C.

Brad Karp
Chairman, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

Daniel F. Kolb
Senior Counsel, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

Eric Lane
Eric J. Schmertz Distinguished Professor of Public Law and Public Service,
Hofstra University School of Law
Former Dean, Hofstra University School of Law

Lance Liebman
William S. Beinecke Professor of Law, Columbia Law School

Michael Lynton
Chairman, Snap

Kathryn Grant Madigan
Chair, Binghamton University Council
Partner, Levene Gouldin & Thompson LLP

Vincent Mai
Founder and Chairman, Cranmere LLC

Keith Mestrich
President and CEO, Amalgamated Bank

Danny Meyer
Founder & CEO, Union Square Hospitality Group

Hon. Scott Murphy
Managing Director, Advantage Capital
Former U.S. Representative (D-NY-20)

Makau W. Mutua
SUNY Distinguished Professor Floyd H. and Hilda Hurst Faculty Scholar
Former Dean, University at Buffalo Law School

Craig Newmark
Founder, Craigslist & Craig Newmark Philanthropies

Morris Pearl
Chair, Patriotic Millionaires

Piper Perabo
Actor

Michael Pernick
Senior Fellow, Millennial Policy Initiative Commission on Democracy and Voting Rights
Attorney, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

Marjorie Press Lindblom
Of Counsel and Retired Partner, Kirkland & Ellis LLP

K. Sabeel Rahman
President, Demos

Andrew Rasiej
Founder and CEO, Civic Hall

Steven A. Reiss
Partner, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP

Té Revesz
Principal, Global Reach

Richard Revesz
Lawrence King Professor of Law, NYU School of Law
Dean Emeritus, NYU School of Law
Director, Institute for Policy Integrity at NYU School of Law

Rashad Robinson
President, Color Of Change

Jonathan F.P. Rose
President, Jonathan Rose Companies

Susan A. Rubinstein
Board Chair, Common Cause NY
Member, Common Cause National Governing Board

George Rupp

Jeffrey Sachs
University Professor and Director, Center for Sustainable Development, Columbia University

Frederick A.O. Schwarz, Jr.
Chief Counsel, Brennan Center for Justice

Robert A. Scott
President Emeritus, Adelphi University

Claire Silberman
Member, Women Donors Network

Daniel A. Simon
Senior Advisor on Money in Politics, Voices for Progress

Jonathan Soros
CEO, JS Capital Management LLC

Max Stone
Managing Director, D.E. Shaw & Co.

Rhea Suh
President, Natural Resources Defense Council

Andrew Tobias
Author and Former Treasurer, Democratic National Committee

Gerald Torres
Jane M.G. Foster Professor of Law, Cornell University Law School

Hon. William vanden Heuvel
Chair Emeritus and Founder, Roosevelt Institute
Former US Ambassador to United Nations

Christine A. Varney
Partner, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

Jim Walden
Managing Partner, Walden Macht & Haran LLP

Marc N. Weiss
Creator, P.O.V.

Milton L. Williams, Jr.
Partner, Walden Macht & Haran LLP
Former Co-Chair, Moreland Commission

Kent Yalowitz
Partner, Arnold & Porter

Peter Zimroth
Director, Center on Civil Justice at NYU School of Law

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