1:01 pm, 04/12/2012
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A coalition of wealthy people is advocating to get wealthy people out of politics in New York State. The coalition of media, banking, and inheriting moguls, dubbed NYLEAD, is working to bring New York City’s model of campaign financing to statewide races, and counter the increasing dominance of wealthy donors in American politics.
The group is advocating for the state to adopt policies similar to those in place in New York City elections. New York City places stricter limits on maximum donations and provides public matching funds for small contributions. For each dollar of the first $175 a donor contributes in NYC, the city provides $6 in public-financed campaign money.
While New York City has some of the strongest campaign finance laws in the country, New York State places few limits on donations. Individuals may contribute up to $60,800 to a candidate in a statewide race. NYLEAD state that their goal is to limit the influence of wealthy donors and influential business interests in Albany, and to make the state a model for nationwide reform.
The coalition is made up largely of big Democratic Party donors. The reforms they champion have been previously supported by New York’s Democratic-majority State Assembly. In order to win passage in the Republican-majority State Senate, they will need to win a few Republican supporters. Beginning next week, NYLEAD will be targeting four Republican Senators with constituant mailers on the issue.
The battle plan seems to be modelled on New York’s recent adoption of same sex marriage rights. In that sense, the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo will be paramount. Cuomo has pledged support for campaign finance reform, but has also benefitted well from the current system. He has over $14 million in his campaign fund. Of course, if reform were to pass, he would not need to return that money…
So anyway, who are these white knights, and what are they up to? Are they here to slay the dragon of CSNY, or is this just one monied interest trying to cap the knees of another? Hate to be cynical, but we’ve been bummed out before. Stay tuned.