New York Leadership for Accountable Government (NY LEAD) is a bipartisan group of New York business, civic, and philanthropic 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 NY State: 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 the 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 joining the Fair Elections for New York campaign and 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 and has earned strong support among voters.
- Disclosure of campaign contributions and political expenditures. As a result of the Citizens United decision, tens of millions of dollars in political spending is hidden from public view. Transparency is an essential principle of free and competitive markets. The rise of the Super PAC during the 2012 election cycle makes this reform even more urgent.
- 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.
- Independent and robust enforcement. New York State’s enforcement of campaign finance laws is notoriously lax, leading to corruption and abuses of the system. We need fair and even-handed enforcement – as well as non-partisan administration that helps candidates and donors with compliance.