Money in Politics in New York: January 18 Edition


The New York Times Editorializes In Favor of Corporate Disclosure

Reform NY reported last week about New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who is seeking disclosure of political contributions from corporationsthat the state pension fund holds stock in. DiNapoli has filed suit against Qualcomm, a computer chip producer, requesting information regarding its political involvement. Delaware law gives shareholders the right to inspect the books and records of a corporation for such information, and the New York State pension fund holds $378 million shares in the company. This week, The New York Times has come out in favor of DiNapoli’s effort. “It is bad enough that the flow of political money into American campaigns grows bigger by the year — the 2012 elections were the costliest ever. It’s even worse when the public is to be kept in the dark about who’s doing the spending. Big stockholders like New York’s pension funds can bring much-needed openness to a murky process.”

Siena Poll: Support for Campaign Finance Reform Still Strong and Wide

In the New Year, New Yorkers appear to support Governor Andrew Cuomo’s third year agenda by broad margins, with 71 percent viewing him as favorable, according to the latest Siena College poll. On the issue of campaign finance reform, New Yorkers demonstrate consistent support for the idea once again across various demographics. When asked about a statewide plan to adopt “a system of public campaign financing in New York that would limit the size of political contributions to candidates and use state money to match smaller contributions made to candidates for state offices,” 59 percent of voters backed the idea and only 36 percent opposed it. A majority of New York City residents, suburbanites and upstate dwellers, as well a large swath of voters across all age groups, races and religions showed support for the initiative. Disclosure of campaign donations above $500 within 48 hours received even greater approval from voters, with 79 percent behind it and merely 18 percent against. The Siena Research Institute report summed it up well: “While Republicans are closely divided on public campaign financing, it is supported by a majority of independents and two-thirds of Democrats, and more than three-quarters of voters from every party support quick disclosure of contributions greater than $500.”