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Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

 

Campaign Finance Reform

Campaign Finance Reform

  • Kallos City Council

    Council Member Kallos (photo: Emil Cohen/City Council)


    The City Council’s Committee on Governmental Operations heard testimony on Monday on a bill to expand the public matching funds available to candidates under the city’s campaign finance program.

    The campaign finance system incentivizes individuals to seek small dollar donations when running for office, matching those contributions with public funds. Under a recent city charter amendment approved by voters, a citywide candidate can receive public funds at an 8-to-1 ratio for the

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  • gnd4ny divestny

    (photo: John McCarten/NY City Council)


    The window for meaningful action on climate change is narrowing. Every year, as more climate impacts become “locked-in,” changes we have to make to save the planet become even harder to implement. Right now, fossil fuel industry campaign contributions to politicians are holding

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  • Ben Kallos campaign finance

    Council Member Kallos (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    New York City Council Member Ben Kallos is moving forward with a bill to increase the amount of public funds a candidate running for elected office can receive from the city’s campaign finance program, in order to further reduce the influence of big money donors in local political campaigns.

    New York City’s voluntary campaign finance program matches small dollar donations in order to afford candidates without deep pockets or wealthy donors a more level playing

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  • Cuomo presentation budget

    Gov. Cuomo (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/governor's office)


    The 2020 state budget agreement between Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature is one of the most consequential legislative packages to have passed in several years and enacts sweeping changes to the state’s criminal justice system, mass transit in New York City, voting laws, health care, environmental protections, and more. But government reform advocates are disappointed by what they see as half-measures on campaign finance reform and the exclusion of broader

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  • Cuomo state budget briefing

    Gov. Cuomo and top aides (photo: governor's office)


    The deadline for the state’s 2020 fiscal year budget is midnight on Sunday and state legislators are expected to work through the weekend as they negotiate a variety of thorny issues with Governor Andrew Cuomo, finalizing the details of policies that have been agreed to in principle, fighting over other issues that are less settled, and determining exactly how much to spend on what in the new fiscal year that begins Monday.

    Some of the budget bills are already public, with

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  • govandcuomo votes

    (photo: governor's office)


    Eighty percent of New Yorkers voted to fortify the way campaigns are financed in New York City through question 1 on the November 2018 ballot. Limiting big money in our local elections clearly resonated with voters, who agreed to increase the public matching dollar amount in the city and reduce individual contribution limits.

    And for good reason! Big donations from real estate companies, healthcare corporations and Wall Street can quickly add up and drown out the power from everyday voters on decisions that we care about

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  • got ga si gov

    (photo: Governor's office)


    As we near the final days of state budget negotiations, a familiar anxiety is growing as advocacy groups and everyday New Yorkers await the fate of critical policy and funding decisions.

    Despite a fast start to the legislative session and optimism abounding from a Democratic trifecta that seemed focused and committed to delivering on campaign promises, the realities of the same-old behind-closed-doors budget process are setting in ahead of the April 1 deadline.

    For far too long, the state budget has contributed to growing

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  • city council reyna puente cm

    Rep. Nydia Velázquez (photo: William Alatriste/NY City Council)


    When I first ran for Congress, I faced what observers said were impossible odds. No Puerto Rican woman had ever served in Congress, the incumbent was sitting on a $2 million war chest, and I was taking on a powerful party machine determined to stop me. Yet, I won.

    What guided me in that first race, and every election since, has been my neighbors’ voices, which I have continued to rely on—from town halls to street corners to knocking on doors. My opponent back

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  • myrie camp fin

    Senate Democrats push campaign finance reform (photo: @zellnor4ny)


    With less than two weeks until a new state budget is due, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature have yet to come to an agreement on a public campaign financing model for state elections. But the conversation around the measure, which advocates and experts say is a long-due reform in a state beset with repeated corruption scandals, has taken a turn since Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie raised several doubts about the viability of public campaign financing, some of which Cuomo has

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  • 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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  •  poolnytdebate 001

    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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  • mxm logo

    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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