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Campaign Finance Reform

Campaign Finance Reform

  • Cuomo bill signing democracy

    Cuomo at Wednesday's bill-signing (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday held a ceremonial bill-signing, one of several since the state budget was approved, to tout the passage of new restrictions and disclosure requirements for political advertisements on social media. But the bill was a component of Cuomo’s larger Democracy Agenda, measures including voting and campaign finance reform that otherwise fell by the wayside during budget negotiations and seem unlikely to pass in the remaining months

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  • marc molinaro speaking

    Marc Molinaro (photo: @marcmolinaro)


    When he formally launched his run for governor earlier this month, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said that “all New Yorkers are paying a corruption tax.” It is a tax, Molinaro explained, that is the result of both legal and illegal malfeasance, of wasteful, ineffective, and corrupt government. In his initial remarks that day, at events in Tivoli and Albany, and during multiple exchanges with journalists, Molinaro has outlined elements of a reform agenda that, he says, will help restore faith in government

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  • cm keith powers cc

    Council Member Keith Powers (photo: William Alatriste)


    City Council Member Keith Powers, a former lobbyist who ran for election on a platform that included a 22-point electoral and government reform agenda, has introduced a package of legislation to make small but significant changes to the city’s campaign finance program.

    Powers, a Manhattan Democrat, is proposing five bills, introduced at the full meeting of the City Council on

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  • GothamTalks commentary New Leaders Council


    Gotham Gazette and New Leaders Council -- a nonpartisan, nonprofit leadership institute -- have partnered with Manhattan Neighborhood Network to create a series of video commentaries by New York City civic activists. GothamTalks is short video essays submitted through the New Leaders Council alumni network, which consists of hundreds of New Yorkers working in advocacy,

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  • Mayor de Blasio State of the City

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


    Last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in his State of the City speech that he would convene a commission to consider changes to the city charter, New York City’s seminal governing document. De Blasio said the charter revision commission would undertake the significant task of reducing the impact of “big money” on local elections and to engage voters in a democracy that has suffered from their apathy. The mayor is hoping the commission members, whom he has yet to name, will

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  • Mayor de Blasio 2017 election voting

    (photo: Samar Khurshid/Gotham Gazette)


    The New York Campaign Finance Board (CFB) held a hearing Monday morning to field testimony on the 2017 New York City election cycle from candidates, operatives, and advocates. The hearing, part of a quadrennial post-election report that must be submitted before September 1 the year after the election, came on the heels of final campaign finance filing of the 2017 cycle. The CFB

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  • Cy Vance District Attorney

    Four NYC DAs  (photo: @ManhattanDA)


    For the past four months, the people of Manhattan have grappled with accusations of their District Attorney cultivating a pay-to-play culture in which the rich and powerful skate by serious criminal charges -- if their lawyers contribute sizable donations to DA Vance’s campaign. In a public display of penance for allowing the appearance of corruption to permeate, Vance requested The Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity at Columbia Law School to investigate ways to better insulate our elected prosecutors

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    Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance (photo: Manhattan DA facebook)


    District attorneys should separate themselves from fundraising efforts and implement tighter vetting procedures for donors to reduce the appearance of bias, says a new report by the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity (CAPI) at Columbia Law School.

    The recommendations were requested by Manhattan District Attorney Cy

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  • Cuomo ethics agenda

    Gov. Cuomo unveils an ethics agenda (photo: The Governor's Office)


    With the four statewide positions up for election again this year, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s ill-fated 2014 public campaign financing experiment, in which candidates for state comptroller were eligible to test-run a pilot program, appears all but forgotten.

    New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, like Cuomo a Democrat running for another four-year term, has long been a proponent of a comprehensive program to match certain private campaign donations with public dollars, as a way

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  • Cuomo State of the State reforms

    Gov. Cuomo at his 2018 State of the State (photo: Philip Kamrass/Governor's Office)


    During his 2018 State of the State speech on Wednesday in Albany, Governor Andrew Cuomo spent little time on government ethics reform, but did address at somewhat greater length his proposals to increase access to the ballot box and change state campaign finance law.

    In sum, the “reform” portion of Cuomo’s remarks were relatively brief, though the governor did expand more on his proposals to change voting, campaign financing,

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  • Ben Kallos campaign finance reform

    City Council Member Ben Kallos (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    As he ran for mayor this year, former City Council Member Sal Albanese typically didn’t go more than five minutes without mentioning his call to bring additional campaign finance reform to New York City. Despite the fact that the city already has a heralded public-matching system that encourages small donation fundraising, Albanese pointed to the “democracy voucher” program instituted in Seattle, which is even more radical in its efforts to lower individual donation

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  • vote for a constitutional convention

    (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayor's Office)


    The federal corruption trial of Norman Seabrook, former head of the correction officers’ union, has introduced new evidence of the contaminating role money plays in politics throughout the state. Jona Rechnitz, a wealthy real estate developer with a taste for power, became a star witness in the case after he got caught in the middle of an alleged deal that allowed Seabrook to get a kickback for investing the union’s pension funds in a risky hedge fund. Rechnitz had also been

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  • heastie cuomo flanagan

    Heastie, Cuomo, Flanagan (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    In one-house budgets passed this week, the state Legislature showed little evidence that new government ethics, voting, and campaign finance reform measures will be passed in Albany any time soon. This, despite persistent issues with public corruption, antiquated election laws, and the ongoing ability for wealthy interests to donate virtually unlimited sums to politicians.

    Through his January State of the State tour, 2017 policy book, and executive budget, Governor

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  • Cuomo casino ribbon cutting

    (photo: The Governor's Office on Flickr)


    Business money and New York politics
    The New York Joint Commission on Public Ethics, an oversight panel, recently proposed legislation to increase the requirements for lobbyists to disclose their political fundraising. The recommendation would help show the ways in those seeking to influence policy by day are raising money for policy-makers by night.

    Blair Horner, legislative director for the New York Public Interest Group, one of several

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  • bdb 32bj 1

    Mayor de Blasio accepts a union endorsement for re-election (photo: Ben Max)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 2013 campaign is being fined $47,778 by the Campaign Finance Board for ten separate violations, including improper post-election spending. Additionally, the board determined at its Thursday hearing, of the $3,994,496 in public matching funds de Blasio’s 2013 campaign received, it must repay $485.02.

    The single largest fine to de Blasio’s campaign, $21,159, is for making impermissible post-election expenditures. ...

  • city council chambers balcony

    City Council chambers (photo: Sofie Hecht/Gotham Gazette)


    The City Council is rushing through a package of bills to reform the city’s campaign finance system. About a dozen bills driven by Council members’ frustrations with the Campaign Finance Board and its rigorous reporting system are being moved through the Council at an almost unseen pace, raising eyebrows.

    There are actually two packages of bills that will be passed through the Council this week: one that has been sitting idle for months after a hearing, which will go through the

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  • mmv nypl

    Speaker Mark-Viverito (photo: @NYCCouncil)


    Within the next two months, the City Council is expected to vote on a large legislative package that would alter the city’s campaign finance system in a variety of ways and regulate donations to political nonprofits, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said this week. Some of the proposals and the timing of their likely passage have raised concerns, though, that the Council is weakening the city’s model campaign finance system, pushing some reforms through after too long a wait and rushing other, newer bills through just in time for the next

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  • berger council

    Henry Berger testifying (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    The City Council heard testimony Monday on a broad package of bills that would prevent conflicts of interest between elected officials and political nonprofits, limit the electoral influence of those who do business with the city, and make it easier for first-time candidates to navigate the city’s campaign finance system.

    The Council’s Committee on Standards and Ethics heard 14 bills on Monday in what was the current Council’s first hearing of the committee focused on legislation. Of the 14, the headlining bill,

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  • Kallos

    Council Member Ben Kallos (photo: John McCarten for the City Council)


    At least three City Council members have made requests to the Council’s bill drafting unit to formulate legislation that would regulate political participation by and with “social welfare” nonprofit organizations. These are political advocacy, or lobbying, groups, which have been the subject of intense scrutiny in New York City of late due to the Campaign

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  • MMV CUNY J School

    Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (photo: William Alatriste)


    As the calendar hurtles toward 2017, one of the big New York City political questions is what the future holds for Melissa Mark-Viverito, the speaker of the City Council. Mark-Viverito will be term-limited out of office at the end of next year and while she has indicated that she may continue to be active in city politics, there is no clear next step for her, especially in terms of elected office.

    Mark-Viverito, a Democrat, told ...

  • MMV hearing flag mic

    above: Melissa Mark-Viverito; below: Ben Kallos (photos by William Alatriste)


    New York City’s campaign finance system, particularly its public matching funds program, is considered a national model, and it stays that way by being regularly updated and modernized. The Campaign Finance Board issues reports following each election analyzing ways to plug holes in the system and bolster the already-robust provisions of the relevant law.

    But, the next city election cycle, in 2017, may come and go without any

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  • cuomo state of the state ethics podium

    Gov. Cuomo during his 2016 State of the State (via The Governor's Office)


    After nearly two months, Governor Andrew Cuomo requested on Friday that the Legislature send him an ethics reform package he personally designed and pushed the Legislature to pass in June with the assistance of a message of necessity he issued to speed the process. The governor now has 10 days to sign it, which he is expected to do.

    Announced by Cuomo late in the legislative session, the actual bill was then a mystery for days before being

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  • Cuomo Hochul Hudson

    Lt. Gov. Hochul, left, and Gov. Cuomo, right, on the Hudson (@NYGovCuomo)


    On Monday, the highest ranking members of the Cuomo administration boarded a boat in the city of Hudson in Columbia County and embarked for New York City. The trip, according to Cuomo administration officials, was strictly work-related. There was a cabinet meeting; strategy sessions for the Governor’s 2017 State of the State address, and inspections of infrastructure projects like the “New New York Bridge,” which is replacing the Tappan Zee.

    It was

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  • capitol building rally

    The Capitol Building (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin, Governor's Office)


    Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders finished protracted and messy end-of-session negotiations on Friday night -- one day after the scheduled end of legislative session -- not with the traditional celebratory press conference, but with a series of press releases. Sent to reporters as bills were still being negotiated, printed, and voted upon Friday night, Cuomo’s public schedule for Saturday put him in the New York City area with no events.

    A press release

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  • squadron et al demand democracy

    Sen. Squadron and "Demand Democracy" ralliers (photo: @DanielSquadron)


    Amid increasing calls for New York to pass bold government ethics reform and minimize the role of money in elections, a bipartisan majority of state lawmakers has taken a symbolic but somewhat significant step in calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution overturning the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in the Citizens United case.

    In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court

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