Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Moreland Update: A Growing Chorus Calling for Public Campaign Financing

Cynthia DiBartolo, chairperson of the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce, made the case today in an Albany Times Union op-ed for why New York’s business community supports comprehensive campaign finance reform that includes public financing. She argues that only systemic reform can fix Albany’s corrupting system. The businesses she represents at the Chamber worry they can’t compete with firms that give massive campaign contributions: “We cannot continue to foster a system,” DiBartolo writes, “that risks elevating businesses with the best political connections above those with the best business practices.”

Broad reform is desperately needed to bring down sky-high contribution limits, close loopholes, provide for effective enforcement of campaign finance laws, and, most importantly, enact a small donor matching system for contributions. Polling shows strong business support for public financing, which has worked in New York City for years. The Moreland Commission has collected more than enough evidence of the power of public financing to curb corruption. DiBartolo calls on the business community to demand changes that will make elections transparent, fair, and competitive. “In New York there is a real possibility for meaningful reform in the near future,” she writes. “The best solution is statewide campaign finance reform that includes a system of matching small contributions with public funds.”

DiBartolo’s call for public campaign financing boosts the Brennan Center’s argument that comprehensive campaign finance reform with a small donor public matching system will broadly benefit New York voters and businesses by addressing all types of corruption, making elections more competitive, improving enforcement of the rules, and re-engaging a cynical voting public. The Moreland Commission’s recommendations should reflect this reality.

Latest News

Schneiderman: Moreland Commission Should Spur Public Financing
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said today he believes the Moreland Commission’s recommended reforms should include public campaign financing. Schneiderman spoke of the importance of the commission’s recommendations for reform on WCNY’s Capitol Pressroom. “I think public financing should be a part of whatever comes out of this,” he said.

Fitzpatrick Says He’s on Board with Public Financing for Campaigns
Moreland Commission co-chair and Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick now supports public campaign financing. In a radio interview over the weekend, Fitzpatrick said, “based on what I’ve learned over the last couple of months, I’m now a proponent of public financing.” He explained that public financing would address the pay-to-play culture of Albany, at a negligible cost. In fact, he said, “The savings ultimately would be astronomical in the long run.” Given the strong evidence presented to the Moreland Commission, the Brennan Center is confident that Fitzpatrick can build support among the Commission’s other members for this crucial reform.

New Battleground Poll: Money-in-Politics One Issue That Transcends Partisan Divide
A new poll of battleground districts across the nation found that voters from both parties are fed up with the influence of big money in politics and strongly support comprehensive campaign finance reforms. There is robust support for a system in which small donations are matched by public funding, and swing voters are some of the strongest supporters. Pollsters found almost no negative response to reform proposals, even those that require significant public contributions to political campaigns.
Over the next several weeks, the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law will send regular updates to this list of Friends of Reform in New York State on efforts to secure comprehensive campaign finance reform centered on public financing of elections. These updates will be sent to good government advocates, allies of the Fair Elections New York campaign, legislative and opinion leaders, scholars and engaged students, reporters, and other advocates for reform. They will also be posted on the Brennan Center’s New York blog at ReformNY.blogspot.com

No comments: