campaign finance reform Tag All blog entries tagged as campaign finance reform http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/latest Tue, 25 Mar 2014 19:56:14 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Today's Lead: Tackling Outside Spending In City Races http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/headlines/2013/08/27/todays-lead-tackling-outside-spending-in-city-races http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/headlines/2013/08/27/todays-lead-tackling-outside-spending-in-city-races

Councilman Brad Lander is proposing legislation aimed at cracking down on spending by outside groups in city races. Such "independent expenditures" exploded following the Citizens United court decision, which allows near-unlimited spending, as long as the groups don’t directly co-ordinate with campaigns. Lander's plan would close a loophole that allows corporations to spend lavishly on candidates through LLCs and require mailings and similar communications to include a notice outlining who paid for them.

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Of particular concern to Lander is the real estate industry-backed "Jobs 4 NY" committee. It's already spent $1.35 million - including $167,000 in support of Brooklyn Councilwoman Sara González and $110,000 to back Paul Vallone in Queens - and aims to spend $10 million citywide. The PAC supports several council incumbents who are up for re-election, which might make it difficult to pass during an election year. But even some candidates who've received its support, like Brooklyn's Laurie Combo, say it's unwelcome and support Lander's proposal.

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City At Risk From Rising Seas, Stronger Hurricanes (Daily News)

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De Blasio Once Supported Expanding Term Limits Too (Wall Street Journal)

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Parsing de Blasio's "Two Cities" (Crain's)

Why New York Tech Is Still Lagging (Fortune Magazine)

Lone Woman In Mayoral Race Steps Up Appeal To Female Voters (NY Times)

Mayoral Rivals In Two-Way Fight For Black Vote (NY Times)

Lhota Favors Fiscal Discipline, Abortion, Same-Sex Marriage, Pot Legalization (NY Post)

City Plans To Fix Rockaway Beach Comfort Stations After Summer (DNAinfo)

State Payments To Non-Profits Lag (Albany Times Union)

Public Advocate Candidates Talk Ethics, Integrity In Debate (WNYC)

Mapping New Yorkers' Energy Use (The Atlantic Cities)

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GothamVotes 2013: Campaign Trail Weekend Roundup

The Times endorsed City Council Speaker Christine Quinn for the Democratic nomination for mayor in the primary; it endorsed former subways chief Joe Lhota for the Republican nomination. (The Times Editorial Board)

A look at mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio's handling of Hilary Clinton's 2000 Senate race finds he "could be agonizingly inefficient in a high-pressure, ever-shifting situation." (NYT)

The clashing political ambitions of Quinn and De Blasio. (The Daily News)

Candidates for public advocate gave "deeply populist and liberal answers to questions during a televised debate Sunday but clashed over a range of issues." (The Wall Street Journal)

"Many voters have already made up their minds, by looking backward and judging the lives and careers of the contenders." (New York Magazine)

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mmuller@gothamgazette.com (Mike Muller) The Eye-Opener Tue, 27 Aug 2013 12:54:26 +0000
Today's Headlines: Scandal Mania vs Legislative Agenda! http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/headlines/2013/05/14/todays-headlines-scandal-mania-vs-legislative-agenda http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/headlines/2013/05/14/todays-headlines-scandal-mania-vs-legislative-agenda

Gov. Cuomo yesterday vowed to keep pushing his legislative agenda in face of "scandal mania." He's been using the recent wave of "quote, unquote scandals" to push ethics reform, but still wants movement on his other priorities, such as women’s equality, the creation of a local government panel, and casino gaming. He also blamed the press for letting scandals become all-consuming. Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos is using the investigations as a reason to oppose public financing, saying it will put public money into the hands of untrustworthy people. Cuomo yesterday revealed a proposal for one of his priorities, reforming the Long Island Power Authority, calling for a three year rate freeze and a takeover by Public Service Electric & Gas Co. of New Jersey.

Other Stories We're Following

City Board Of Elections Warns Of Mayoral Election Disaster (Daily News)

Advocacy Group Opposed To Flushing Meadows Soccer Arena (Capital)

Bloomberg Defends Queens Soccer Stadium (NY Post)

Liu Campaign Most Aggressive In Courting Muslims (Daily News)

Indian Point Nuclear Plant Draws Mixed Grades (WNYC)

City Seeks Developers to Restore Staten Island Marsh (DNAinfo)

State To Use Federal Grant To Pay For Homes Damaged By Irene and Lee (Albany Times Union)

Quinn Would Double Newsstand Maximum Price To $10 (NY Post)

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mmuller@gothamgazette.com (Mike Muller) The Eye-Opener Tue, 14 May 2013 13:07:58 +0000
Following Scandals, A Bunch Of Plans For Reforming Albany http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/elections/2013/04/16/following-scandals-a-bunch-of-plans-for-reforming-albany http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/elections/2013/04/16/following-scandals-a-bunch-of-plans-for-reforming-albany Legislators returning from a spring break that saw the arrest of two of their colleagues on corruption charges find themselves in a new Albany where ethics reform is at the top of everyone's to-do list. And everyone has got a plan.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver unveiled his plan for public financing of campaigns today that includes six-to-one matching funds that would be paid for by taxpayers who opt in on state tax forms and with money recovered from securities fraud.

Silver's plan did not address the Wilson Pakula law that allows for cross-party endorsements. The law has come under scrutiny since state Sen. Malcolm Smith, a Democrat, was arrested on corruption allegations that he tried to bribe his way onto the Republican line for New York City Mayor.

The group that took perhaps the biggest hit from the recent scandal was the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference that had appointed Smith the chair of their five-memmber conference.

The IDC expelled Smith and, last Friday, issued its own campaign finance reform plans.

Those plans include a comprehensive public campaign finance system with a six-to-one match for candidates that opt into the system. It also establishes a minimum threshold a candidate must raise to opt in to the system while running for different elected positions. Meanwhile, candidates who choose not to opt in to public financing would face a system with far more restrictions and on corporate donations and contribution limits. The IDC plan would also create a statewide database to track campaign finance data and do away with the Wilson Pakula law.

For their part, Senate Democrats unveiled their own plan yesterday, which calls for the passage of a number of bills they have previously proposed. Among the proposals: Legislators convicted of corruption would lose their pensions, legislators could not use campaign cash for defense lawyers or for expensive meals and cars, and lobbyists would have to better document their spending. The Demcorats' proposal did not deal with fusion voting or restricting corporate donations.

IDC leader Sen. Jeff Klein responded harshly to the proposals from Silver and the Senate Democrats because of their lack of action on Wilson Pakula.

"The IDC appreciates Speaker Silver's commitment to public financing," said Klein in a statement today. "Nevertheless, our members believe that unless we repeal Wilson Pakula, eliminate party slush funds, and prohibit multi-million dollar transfers from party committees to individual candidates, then we will fail to address the fundamental problems of our current campaign finance system. The proposal put forth by the IDC last week accomplishes all of these goals and will finally deliver the type of reform that voters demand."

However, ending the law would effectively destroy third parties like the Conservative and Working Families parties.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo previewed part one of his anti-corruption plans last week. You can expect that he has been negotiating with legislators on some sort of package. We could hear an announcement from him as early as today. Cuomo has championed public financing but Senate Republicans have stood firmly against it.

Republican Spokesman Scott Reif told the Times Union earlier this week that "allowing politicians to use taxpayer money to finance their campaigns is not a solution."

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) Elections Tue, 16 Apr 2013 18:22:17 +0000
Today's Headlines: Cuomo Says Scandals Present Chance For Reform http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/04/09/todays-headlines-cuomo-says-scandals-present-chance-for-reform- http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/04/09/todays-headlines-cuomo-says-scandals-present-chance-for-reform-

Without going into specifics, Gov. Cuomo called for a series of reforms yesterday in the wake of the bribery scandals that have rocked the state - and added to the growing criticism he's faced over the past two months. In a radio interview, the governor said the crisis should not be wasted and instead used to pass reforms in areas like political party balloting, member items, campaign donation limits, and the state Board of Elections. He would also enact lobbying reform and make it easier for local prosecutors to bring corruption cases. But he went on to argue that Albany is actually functioning better under his watch than before, particularly on New York City issues. When speaking with the NY Post, Cuomo blamed the capitol's incumbent-driven political culture for the rash of corruption. So far, he won't order a corruption commission to investigate state politics as his father did in 1987.

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Private Development Feared In City-Owned Complex (NY Times)

Crime Commission Backs NYPD Monitor (Crain's)

City To Start Recycling More Plastics Soon, Officials Say (DNAinfo)

Hope, Skepticism For Fire Department's Blacks Amid Diversity Push (City Limits)

Bike Sharing Gets Into Gear (Wall Street Journal)

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mmuller@gothamgazette.com (Mike Muller) City Tue, 09 Apr 2013 12:29:30 +0000
Does the Public Have to Fund Elections to Achieve Campaign Finance Reform? http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2012/10/09/does-the-public-have-to-fund-elections-to-achieve-campaign-finance-reform http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2012/10/09/does-the-public-have-to-fund-elections-to-achieve-campaign-finance-reform

Bill Samuels, head of the New Roosevelt Initiative, wants campaign finance reform, and he wants it bad.

While other good government groups have their hopes set on a publicly funded campaign finance system that would be similar to New York City's, Samuels is a bit more flexible.

He notes that some legislators have objected to such a system because they don't think the state can afford to use tax revenues in that manner, others have objected that taxpayers won't want to see their money being used to finance the candidacies of people they don't agree with. (The Albany Times-Union reported last month that recent scandals may have derailed plans to push full public financing of state elections in a special session this year).

Samuels says that although he doesn't agree with them, he respects their opinion and thinks it may be time people stop harping on the 'public' part of campaign financing.

His New Roosevelt Institute is exploring a number of ways to alternatively fund campaigns so that candidates will be on equal ground.

So where else could the state get the cash to fund campaign finance system? "What about casino gambling?" asks Samuels.

He notes that the state constitution specifies how funds from the lottery and horse betting will be spent — lottery funds go to education while funds from horse racing will be spent on government operations. But, so far, the governor and legislative leaders have not said how proceeds from casino gambling that they are in the process of legalizing will be allocated.

Samuels has been pushing Gov. Andrew Cuomo to act on his long-expressed support for campaign finance reform. In July this year Samuels called on Cuomo to stop accepting corporate donations as a sign of his commitment to the issue but Cuomo did not.

"He is the captain, he gets to decide how it is done," Samuels said of Cuomo. "I'm the idea guy, I'm just giving him options." But Samuels says he think Cuomo could become a national hero if he achieves major campaign finance reform in New York.

After the bluster of the election season blows over, you can expect that a number of New York State legislators will be focused on campaign finance reform. A number of bills may be addressed in a long-rumored special session this winter.

While a complete overhaul of the state's campaign finance system may not be right around the bend, other fixes are described by a number of legislators as 'likely.' Such changes include lowering the maximum allowable donation from individuals to candidates for state-wide office and closing a loophole in the law that allows unlimited donations to party's housekeeping accounts — like Bloomberg's recently reported $1 million donation to Senate Republicans.

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) State Tue, 09 Oct 2012 19:29:03 +0000