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Citizens Union
 

Campaign Finance Reform

Campaign Finance Reform

  • public financing cuomo

    (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of the Governor)


    “Black humanity and dignity requires Black political will and power. Despite constant exploitation and perpetual oppression, Black people have bravely and brilliantly been the driving force pushing the U.S. towards the ideals it articulates but has never achieved. In recent years we have taken to the streets, launched massive campaigns, and impacted elections, but our elected leaders have failed to address the legitimate demands of our Movement. We can no longer wait.”

    Those words launch the

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    The first public advocate debate (photo: Holly Pickett for The New York Times (pool))


    Small-dollar donors were behind 63 percent of the first wave of campaign contributions to candidates who ran in the February special election for public advocate, up from 26.3 percent in 2013 when there was an open race for the seat, according to an analysis by New York City Council Member Ben Kallos. The Manhattan Council member sponsored the law to implement in the public advocate special election the new campaign finance rules overwhelmingly approved by voters in a

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  • heastie carl nys assembly speaker 9.62

    (photo: Buck Ennis/Crain's)


    Though Democrats have for years blamed Republican intransigence for the failure of key campaign finance and ethics reforms in Albany, those measures still appear stalled even as their party controls the entire state Legislature and governor’s office. On Friday, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said that the votes are not there in his chamber to approve a public-matching campaign finance system, despite the fact that the Assembly has repeatedly passed such a measure in the past when

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  • cr cuomo

    2014 NY gubernatorial debate (photo: C-SPAN)


    With Democrats in charge of the state Legislature, there’s broad optimism that New York may finally create a state-level public financing system for electoral campaigns modelled after the program in place in New York City, including mandatory debates for candidates for statewide offices who receive public campaign funds.

    In his executive budget released last month, Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed a voluntary public campaign financing program that would provide a 6-to-1 match for the first $175 of each contribution. The

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  • cy vance manhattanda

    Manhattan DA Cy Vance (photo: @ManhattanDA)


    District attorneys wield nearly unfettered discretion as to whether to prosecute potential defendants, but nothing in the law prevents lawyers for the accused from donating to a district attorney’s election campaign. Most New Yorkers became aware of this glaring blindspot in the state’s campaign finance law in 2017, following news that Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s campaign had accepted thousands of dollars from an attorney for Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced Hollywood mogul who Vance’s office had

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  • gov cuomo albany

    (Photo via the Governor's office)


    Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed a broad agenda of progressive legislation in his State of the State speech on Tuesday, accompanied by more detailed policy and budget books, including several measures aimed at improving New York’s democracy and increasing public trust in state government.

    Emboldened by full Democratic control of the State Senate and Assembly, after years of a split Legislature where Republicans controlled the upper chamber, Cuomo reiterated many of the proposals that he has repeatedly advanced in vain in

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  • senator cat young

    Senator Young, the author (photo: @SenatorCathyYoung)


    It’s a new day in New York. On January 1, the Senate Republican Conference, our state’s last line of defense against tax-and-spend, downstate-centric policies, assumed its new role as the minority party in the New York State Senate.

    While many in New York are cheering this change, many others are wary. They should be.

    A host of progressive, and in some cases, extremist, agenda items are being pushed by Governor Cuomo and the Democratic majorities in each house of the

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  • mnn agenda ep2

    (photo: @MNN59)


    This is part of AGENDA 2019, a joint Gotham Gazette-City Limits project
    Find the rest of the series here

    mnn59 agenda ep2As part of Agenda 2019, the project from Gotham Gazette and City Limits, hosts Ben Max and Jarrett Murphy were joined on Manhattan Neighborhood Network by State Senator Liz Krueger, a Manhattan Democrat, and Susan Lerner, executive

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    Ben Max, left, of Gotham Gazette, and Jarrett Murphy, right, of City Limits


    December 5, 2018 - Max & Murphy Podcast: De Blasio Finishes Year 5 & The Push for 'Fair Elections for New York'

    wbai hirsh jw 400bMayor de Blasio is nearing the end of his fifth year in office, and in the first half of the show the hosts take stock of recent news surrounding the mayor and questions of his

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  • Cuomo democracy protection

    Gov. Cuomo signs legislation (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    This is part of AGENDA 2019, a joint Gotham Gazette-City Limits project
    Find the rest of the series here

    The 2018 election cycle in New York laid bare the myriad failings of the state’s political system that advocates and reform-minded elected officials have long recognized. Several candidates, many in it for the first time, ran competitive races on the backs of small dollar donors while

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  • schools chancellor reg

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    This is part of AGENDA 2019, a joint Gotham Gazette-City Limits project
    Find the rest of the series here

    Voters approved three ballot proposals on Election Day to amend the New York City charter, the city’s foundational

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  •  Ocasio-Cortez Teachout

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez & Zephyr Teachout (photo: Gotham Gazette)


    This is part of AGENDA 2019, a joint Gotham Gazette-City Limits project
    Find the rest of the series here

    Queens City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer ...

  • Mayor de Blasio

    Mayor de Blasio (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayor's Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio is seeking to make a lasting impact on city governance through a charter revision commission that would transform the city’s campaign finance system, promote greater civic involvement in city affairs, and inject new blood into local community boards. But prominent elected officials, most of whom are Democrats like de Blasio, don’t agree with the proposals the mayor’s commission has put on the November 6 ballot and are urging New Yorkers to reject them.

    The mayor’s commission put ...

  • vote here large


    How far and how deep did the Russian government and Russian nationals go to influence United States elections? While hacking and manipulation of social media have garnered significant attention from both the media and the Mueller investigation, it’s also clear that Russian money was being funneled through some surprising channels, such as the National Rifle Association (NRA).

    When Citizens United opened the floodgates for corporations to spend unlimited amounts in our elections, it also blasted open a loophole for foreign money to be used to influence U.S. elections. Earlier

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  • charter revision commission 2018

    The Charter Revision Commission (photo via Charter Commission)


    After months of meetings and deliberations, thousands of suggestions and dozens of hours of public hearings, the charter revision commission created by Mayor Bill de Blasio voted to put three broad questions on the ballot in November. If approved by voters, the proposals would significantly reduce campaign contribution limits in city elections, create a new agency to civically engage the public, and apply term limits and appointment reforms to community boards.

    De Blasio created the commission to

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  • john mccain campaign

    Late Senator John McCain (photo: Gage Skidmore)


    There are precious few genuine heroes left in public life in America. That’s why the passing of John McCain last weekend felt like such a huge loss for many of us whose lives are devoted to the practice of politics and government.

    Despite his flaws, Senator McCain leaves behind a deep and unique imprint on American history. Among his most important legislative achievements was the enactment of the most significant national campaign finance reform measure since the post-Watergate years.

    As a young press

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    Schaffer, Ulrich, Torres, Quinn, Gotbaum, Cho (l-r) (photo: @NYCCFB)


    Former and current New York City elected officials broadly praised the city’s campaign finance system at a panel at New York Law School on Wednesday, while acknowledging that it could be improved to incentivize more reliance on small donors and streamlined to encourage first-time candidates to run for office.

    The panel was hosted by the New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB) and moderated by Daniel Cho, assistant executive director for candidate guidance and policy at the CFB. The panellists

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  • cyn nixon cam fin plan unveils

    Cynthia Nixon outside Tweed Courthouse (photo: Gotham Gazette)


    Standing on the steps of the Tweed Courthouse in Manhattan, a symbol of corruption in New York government, Andrew Cuomo launched his run for governor eight years ago last month, vowing to clean up the rot in Albany. On Monday -- as the corruption trial of a close ally to the two-term governor began in federal court -- Cynthia Nixon, the actor and activist and Democratic primary challenger to Cuomo, stood at the same spot to criticize the governor’s broken promise and to

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  • charter comm rev2

    The Charter Revision Commission


    The Charter Revision Commission empaneled by Mayor Bill de Blasio met on Thursday at NYU for the second of four expert advisory issue forums, discussing what could be the marquee issue for this year’s commission: changing the city’s campaign finance system. The first meeting, held Tuesday, ...

  • mayor cityhall march

    (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)


    New York City’s modern campaign finance system is undoubtedly a model program -- it’s being emulated in other municipalities -- that has diversified and democratized the city’s quadrennial local elections since it was created 30 years ago. Among its strengths is that the public-matching program is consistently tweaked and updated with the times, and the Campaign Finance Board is taking the opportunity afforded by a mayoral charter revision commission to propose further reforms to the system.

    CFB

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  • stephanie miner podcast

    Stephanie Miner (photo: Ben Max/Gotham Gazette)


    She describes herself as a “romantic about government,” but former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner sees a lot wrong with how it is currently being practiced in New York.

    “When I think about what motivates me to be in government, it’s making change and impacting public policy,” Miner said on a recent episode of the Max & Murphy podcast from Gotham Gazette and City Limits, adding

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  • Mayor de Blasio charter revision

    Mayor de Blasio at a hearing at City Hall (photo: Mayoral Photography Office)


    Calls for campaign finance improvements, election reform, and changes to the structure and functions of community boards dominated the fourth borough hearing of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Charter Revision Commission, held Monday night at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

    Created by the mayor to review the charter, which outlines the city’s foundational governance, the commission is holding a slew of hearings across the city to solicit public input on changes

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  • m bdb first lady chirlane

    Mayor de Blasio & the Mayor's Fund (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayoral Photo Office)


    A government reform group is urging Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Charter Revision Commission to explore stronger restrictions on donations to nonprofits affiliated with city agencies, building on a raft of laws passed through the New York City Council and signed by the mayor in 2016, which are set to go into effect next year.

    Reinvent Albany, an organization focused on government transparency and accountability, is advocating for greater disclosure

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  • bpericadams twitter 2

    Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams (photo: @bpericadams)


    “I’m working towards City Hall,” Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said on Tuesday, explaining during a wide-ranging interview that he has begun planning his run for mayor.

    It’s no secret that Adams, 57, who was elected borough president in 2013 and reelected last year, wants to succeed Mayor Bill de Blasio, a fellow Democrat who will be term-limited out of office at the

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  • cynthia nixon gov rally event

    Cynthia Nixon (photo: Cynthia for NY on Facebook)


    Actor and activist Cynthia Nixon launched her challenge to two-term incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo by calling him a fake Democrat who has governed like a Republican and only takes progressive stances when they are politically expedient or he has no choice.

    Nixon, who certainly has an uphill climb if she wants to beat Cuomo in the September 13 Democratic primary, has staked her campaign on claiming to be a true progressive, with a liberal agenda focused on racial and economic

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