Gotham Gazette

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Campaign Finance Reform

Campaign Finance Reform

  • Cuomo Heastie Stewart-Cousins

    State government leaders Stewart-Cousins, Cuomo, Heastie (photo: The Governor's Office)


    A new state campaign finance system, with public matching money for candidates who choose to participate and lower individual contribution limits, will be enshrined in law through inclusion in the new state budget. It is accompanied by new and highly-controversial ballot-threshold requirements for political parties.

    Using a modified system due to the coronavirus outbreak, the state Legislature voted through various budget bills on Tuesday and

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  • new york state capitol

    Big decisions to be made in the state capitol (photo: Mike Groll/Governor's Office)


    A State Supreme Court judge in Niagara County struck down the state’s new campaign finance law which was based on the recommendations of a controversial state-created commission that took effect in December. The state Legislature could not give the commission the authority to make binding changes to state law, the judge

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  • nys senate chamber

    State Legislators have an important decision to make (photo: NY Senate)


    In New York State, money doesn’t only talk, it decides who does the talking, who makes the laws, whose voices matter, and who gets left out. After years of grassroots activism, New York State is a big step closer to shifting the balance of power in Albany through a new public campaign financing program, moving away from big-monied interests and toward regular New

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  • corrupt fix

    (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)


    We’re just a few months into 2020, and it has been the focus for much of the country for months, if not years, and for good reason -- it is the most important election our democracy has faced in decades. While voter turnout is projected to be record-breaking this year, one of the greatest inequalities of our democracy still needs serious legislative reform: campaign

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  • ballot ref

    Brad Lander and others in support of ranked-choice voting (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    City Council Member Brad Lander, a Brooklyn Democrat, is introducing legislation on Thursday that would close a loophole in city campaign finance law that currently allows groups to hide their donors when they try to influence voting on a ballot referendum.

    The city’s campaign finance law is fairly robust, having been updated repeatedly over the years to reduce the effect of big money on politics, including independent expenditure groups that seek to sway elections. But

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  • sotsaddress albany

    (photo: Governor's Office)


    If you have ever given money to a political candidate, you’ve probably received a follow-up email asking you to “rush $3 today to help us reach our goal” or “send in $10 now to show we’re here to win.” I’ve sent quite a few of these emails myself, and I don’t think I would’ve raised more money in a single filing period than any candidate for New York State Assembly ever has if I didn’t. But trust me when I tell you that sending these emails is the worst part of my job as a candidate.

    I’m running to unseat my local New York

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  • Cuomo corruption ethics

    Cuomo in 2013 (photo: Governor's Office)


    The government ethics agenda put forth by Governor Andrew Cuomo in his 2020 State of the State is much shorter than those he’s proposed in years passed.

    In fact, it contains just one proposal: legislation mandating some state officials publish their tax returns. Meanwhile, it leaves out several of Cuomo’s past proposals that have yet to be accomplished, including major campaign finance reforms supported by one of his top allies.

    The heavily-truncated list comes after more than a year of controversy

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  • outline justice agenda

    (photo: governor's office)


    New York State is set to adopt a new electoral campaign finance system, with voluntary participation, lower individual contribution limits, and a new public matching system to amplify small donations. It is based on the recommendations of a state commission, which also raised the threshold for political party ballot access, that will become law unless the state Legislature acts to amend them by Sunday, December 22, which legislative leaders have given no indication they will attempt.

    But while many reform-minded elected

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  • cuomo utica

    (photo: governor's office)


    December 4, 2019 - Max & Murphy Podcast: State Campaign Finance Reform Takes Shape, with Threat to Minor Parties

    jacobs wis wbaiJay Jacobs, chair of the New York Democratic Party and a Governor Cuomo-appointed member of the state campaign finance commission that just finished its work, and Jessica Wisneski of Citizen Action NY and the Working Families Party joined the

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  • gov cuomo heastie

    Heastie & Cuomo (photo: governor's office)


    This week, the state campaign finance commission, created out of the backroom dealings of the 2019 budget process, released a set of flawed recommendations for a small-donor public matching campaign finance system despite workable alternative recommendations provided by experts and activists alike. In addition, by deviating from its primary mission by focusing on a petty attempt by Governor Andrew Cuomo and his allies to eliminate third parties like the Working Families Party, the commission made a mockery of the countless

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  • state legislators hearing

    (photo: @FairElectionsNY)


    A state commission charged with creating a system of public financing for state elections has prompted harsh rebukes from several state legislators for proposing what they say is watered down campaign finance reform and for ostensibly advancing a political agenda that targets longtime critics of Governor Andrew Cuomo.

    The New York State Public Campaign Financing Commission was appointed by Cuomo and state legislative leaders after a failure of consensus on overhauling the state’s campaign finance system. It was tasked in

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  • pubic hearing 1

    the state campaign finance commission at its final meeting


    The New York State Public Campaign Financing Commission held its final meeting on Monday, voting to institute the creation of a new system for public funding of campaigns for statewide and state legislative offices, with lower contribution limits intended to reduce the effect of money in elections. Though the commission did not act to eliminate fusion voting, as minor political parties and their allies feared, it did move to increase the threshold for parties to obtain a position on the ballot, creating uncertainty

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  • 107 123 c3560 1

    One PBA IE on 2019 ballot question 2 (photo via Campaign Finance Board filing)


    Just after an election where the issue became especially apparent, a New York City lawmaker is planning to introduce legislation to close a loophole that has allowed independent expenditure committees to shield donors when they spend money to sway voters on ballot proposals. The potential change in city law would bring certain donor disclosure rules in line with state regulations and extend other city regulations to what is already required for political spending on candidates by

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  • gov cuomo participate

    (photo: Philip Kamrass/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)


    In April, the New York State budget was passed and signed into law. Buried within it was the creation of a commission tasked to write a new law on three aspects of the state’s election code: public campaign finance, “fusion” voting, and political party qualifications. Oddly, though it’s called the Public Campaign Finance Commission, most of the hearing testimony and press coverage has focused on fusion voting and party qualifications. This may be so because the commission’s informal leader, Democratic

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  • fusion voting 600

    (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayoral Photo Office)


    September 25, 2019 - Max & Murphy Podcast: The Future of Fusion Voting in New York

    stan fritz wbaiA commission established by Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature is designing a system of public campaign financing for New York, and also considering whether to try to end the practice of fusion voting. Its binding recommendations are due

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  • camp fin rally

    (photo: Samar Khurshid)


    The New York State Public Campaign Financing Commission heard many hours of testimony on Tuesday from experts, government reform advocates, elected officials, and others on creating a new statewide system of electoral campaign financing that would encourage small contributions and curb the effects of wealthy donors.

    At what was its first public hearing of several planned for the next few weeks, the commission also explored questions around how fusion voting -- where more than one political party can nominate the same candidate for an elected

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  • gov cuomo remove

    (photo: the governor's office)


    After the Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton massacres of the last two weeks, many Americans are asking how many more Stephen Romeros have to die before we stop the corporate, state-sponsored domestic terrorism of the gun-rights lobby. If you need to take a tally of children killed by guns, start with Stephen, and then include the ...

  • govcuomo flag albanycap

    (photo: Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)


    New York State government has often failed to address our biggest challenges. Surprisingly, during the 2019 legislative session real protections for renters were approved over the objections of New York’s powerful real estate industry. Congestion pricing for Manhattan’s central business district was written into law, along with far-reaching climate change legislation. Cash bail was abolished for most crimes, and bump stocks that cause rifles to fire like machine guns were banned. Women’s rights and LGBTQ

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  • fairelectionsny

    (photo: @FairElectionsNY)


    As New Yorkers geared up for the holiday weekend last week, state government leaders announced appointments to a new commission with the lofty task of establishing a statewide public campaign financing system.

    The body is seen by many as an opportunity to reduce the influence of wealthy donors on state politics by creating a small-dollar matching program that would amplify the impact of contributions made by average residents, in the vein of what exists in New York City.

    Established during

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  • council comm hearing

    Council Member Keith Powers (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    The City Council’s Committee on Governmental Operations held a hearing Wednesday to discuss three bills related to campaign finance reform. Two of the bills would prohibit candidates convicted of felony corruption or misuse of public funds from receiving public matching funds and reduce the matching funds contribution minimum from $10 to $5. They are sponsored by Council Members Fernando Cabrera and Keith Powers, respectively. Cabrera is the chair of the governmental operations

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  • Johnson Kallos City Council

    Council Members Kallos, left, & Rodriguez, right, with Speaker Johnson (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    The City Council passed a much-anticipated, controversial campaign finance bill Thursday, raising the cap on how much public funding a campaign can receive and altering other dynamics of the city’s matching system. The bill -- the source of significant consternation over the past several days, particularly among likely 2021 mayoral candidates - passed by a vote of 41-6, with one abstention, and three absences.

    The legislation, which Mayor

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  • committee gov op

    Council Members Yeger, left, and Cabrera, right (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    Significantly more public funding of political campaigns appears on the way given legislation that the City Council Committee on Governmental Operations passed on Tuesday.

    The bill, sponsored by Ben Kallos, a Manhattan Democrat, aims to prevent corruption and increase engagement with local communities by adjusting the public matching funds system to allow candidates to raise only relatively small donations and receive enough public money to reach the spending limit in

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  • Ben Kallos City Council

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


    A City Council committee is expected on Tuesday to pass a bill aimed at reducing the influence of large donors on New York City candidates and elections by creating the possibility for candidates to essentially raise all smaller donations and earn enough public matching funds to fully reach the spending limit imposed by the city’s campaign finance program. But the bill, which has recently been amended in a significant way, is stirring controversy as it heads to a vote, with accusations against

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  • Niou Ramos Albany

    the authors: Assemblymember Niou, center, & Senator Ramos, left (photo: @NYCComptroller)


    We’ve got a big money problem here in New York, and we hear loud and clear the New Yorkers who are calling for a small donor solution in the form of public financing of elections.

    Public financing became a top issue in state budget negotiations earlier this year because of public demand. The plan for a commission to now determine the parameters of public financing of elections was placed in a large budget bill in the final hours of budget negotiations, making it

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  • city council cm arroyo 800

    (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    Senator and presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand wants to give all Americans $600 to donate to candidates for office. She believes this will level the campaign finance playing field and ween candidates from the corrupting influence of large donors and corporate PACs.

    This is a well-meaning reform

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