Money in Politics in New York: June 7 Edition

The Independent Democratic Conference Should Bring Fair Elections to the Floor

In a Times Union op-ed Frederick A.O. Schwarz, Jr., corporate counsel at the Brennan Center, and Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center, explained how the Senate is at a historic crossroads, with a unique opportunity to usher in an era of transparency and cleaner elections in Albany. Currently the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) controls the chamber in a power sharing agreement with the Republicans. When forming the coalition, IDC Leader Senator Jeffrey Kleininsisted that it would help end gridlock in our legislative process. However, now the IDC is saying that it will not bring its own campaign finance reform bill up for a vote despite overwhelming support for comprehensive reform from the public, a majority of Senators, and all three statewide leaders, including Governor Cuomo. After a string of corruption scandals that confirmed the corrosive role of big money on our elections and policy process, campaign finance reform with independent enforcement of the law should be part of a comprehensive remedy. “Scandal often breeds innovation, and fractured party control of the Senate could offer a rare chance for meaningful change. It still can — if the IDC members decide to let their own proposal come to the floor for a vote.” Read more…