Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Need for Comprehensive Campaign Finance Reform in New York

This is yet another example of the need for real, comprehensive reform of New York's campaign finance laws. Merely placing some limits on certain kinds of contributions, as is done in New York (though even in these cases, the limits are far higher than in most other states) merely means money gets moved to another category of "recipient" without eliminating the problems that campaign finance laws are meant to address: combatting real and perceived corruption in government, providing more equal opportunities for qualified candidates to run for office and for ordinary people to influence outcomes, and permit candidates to focus on policy and public service instead of on fundraising.

As our colleague Ciara Torres recenctly pointed out , only a complete overhaul of New York's campaign finance system will address the current system's shortcomings. In particular Ms. Torres and the Brennan Center have called for the following:

-- Reducing contribution limits in all categories;

-- Closing the corporate subsidiary loophole and the housekeeping account loophole;

-- Ending personal use of campaign funds by candidates;

-- Introducing thoughtful restrictions on contributions by state contractors and lobbyists;

-- Enhancing enforcement by increasing fines and penalties and properly funding the Board of Elections; and
-- Providing meaningful public financing to executive and legislative candidates.

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