Friday, May 02, 2008

Albany Times Union, Governor Paterson
and High Hopes for Low Limits

While on a bus to DC this morning, our colleague Beth Foster spotted today's Albany Times Union editorial that takes Governor Paterson to task for not abiding by his predecessor's self-imposed $10,000 max contribution limit.

I posted earlier this week about the news under the title of The $55,900 Question. To reiterate, I don't blame the governor for not taking the pledge--I blame the high limits. Moreover, Governor Spitzer, who created (and skirted) the pledge had quite the Rolodex for fundraising given his elite pedigree.

In fact, in 1998 then-Attorney General candidate Spitzer admitted to the New York Times that his father loaned him money in 1994 to repay more than $9 million of bank notes to finance his first campaign. (Disclosure: I was a consultant to Eliot during his first run for attorney general, but had no knowledge of his campaign finances.) Our new governor, however, comes from a far more humble background.

Back to the issue at hand, as one of our wise coalition partners put it, we can't really expect a unilateral disarmament from Governor Paterson. So, in the meantime we trust there's work underway to fix the underlying problem.

However we'd be awfully disappointed if the Times Union turned out to be right: "Oh, Mr. Paterson may yet come out with a campaign finance reform proposal before the legislative session wraps up. He might feign indignation when it somehow fails to pass."

Echoing the words of the Chairman of the Board: We still have high hopes.

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