Money in Politics in New York: Week of May 4th

May 11, 2012

Reposted with permission from The Brennan Center. Money in Politics is a series which regularly compiles the latest news concerning the corrosive nature of money in New York State politics — and the ongoing need for public financing and robust campaign finance reform.

1. State Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries reiterated his strong support for public campaign finance in an interview on MSNBC this week, urging fellow state lawmakers to pass the Fair Elections Act before the end of the legislative session. Jeffries noted that Gov. Cuomo’s backing will be crucial to the success of the Fair Elections Act: “We need his leadership on this issue, and I’m convinced if he decides to lead and move this forward, we can get meaningful campaign finance reform in New York State.”

2. A new report issued by the Center for Working Families examines how money in politics led taxpayers to foot the bill for the new Yankee Stadium. In 2006 Yankees ownership paid over $300,000 to a lobbying firm run by former Bronx Assemblyman Roberto Ramirez—the largest lobbying fee reported that year—as well as other influential lawmakers including former state senator Joseph Bruno, in an apparent effort to secure funding for the stadium. The report highlights the financing of Yankee Stadium as a case study in the high-stakes influence-peddling permitted by New York’s current campaign finance regime.

3. The Democrat and Chronicle strongly urged Gov. Cuomo to stand behind his promise to prioritize campaign finance reform, recalling a 2010 campaign publication in which Cuomo called on state legislators to “fundamentally alter our system to give voices to all New Yorkers” by creating a small-donor matching program for publicly funded campaigns. Bills that would create such a program have been introduced in the Assembly, but Cuomo’s support is widely seen as instrumental in moving campaign finance reform through the Senate