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Campaign Finance Reform

Campaign Finance Reform

  • 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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    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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  • 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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    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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    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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