Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Major Campaign Finance Reform Step Today

Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's proposed bill to create a voluntary system of public financing of elections for the state comptroller's race, introduced today, is a potential game changer for Albany.

The bill, A8367, modeled off New York City’s small donor matching funds system, contains many of the same measures we at ReformNY have been calling for in a state based system. Using a $6-to$1 match in public financing for the first $250 raised from New York State Residents, the bill encourages candidates to target average New Yorkers and allows candidates with grassroots support to run viable campaigns—without the backing of special interests. Under the proposed system, a voter’s $250 donation would become a $1,750 donation.

The bill also limits the influence of big donors by lowering contribution limits for participating candidates to $2,000 for the primary and general elections further increasing the voice of average New Yorkers.

After the scandal with former Comptroller Alan Hevesi, who traded campaign contributions for investment in the fund, it is crucial that New York insulate this office from corruption. As the legislative session draws to a close, we urge lawmakers to act with a sense of urgency and pass this important reform. At the same time, we hope this bill will encourage lawmakers and the Governor to work towards creating a similar system for all statewide races in New York.

UPDATE: The Brennan Center issued this memorandum of support for the Comptroller Campaign Finance Reform Act.

No comments: