Gotham Gazette

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Campaign Finance Reform

Campaign Finance Reform

  • 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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  • cuomo delivers

    Gov. Cuomo speaks at a 32BJ rally (photo: Fred Pollard/Governor's Office)


    Governor Andrew Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, has in recent weeks repeatedly lashed out at state legislators from his own party and a long-time labor ally, 32BJ SEIU, as he points to the role of independent expenditures in state politics amid questions about his own fundraising habits and commitment to campaign finance reform.

    The

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  • 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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