NYPIRG’s Blair Horner has been battling legal and illegal corruption in Albany for decades. In this thoughtful post he outlines why this state budget is a truly rare opportunity to major reforms in the campaign finance system, and to radically change Albany’s entrenched culture of pay to play politics:
Lawmakers return to the Capitol this week to tackle the big issue of the session: approving a state budget. As part of that $140 billion plus decision, lawmakers will be forced to also debate a key issue: reforming the state’s campaign finance and ethics laws.
For at least 30 years, New York governors have called for sweeping campaign finance reforms. New York has the highest campaign contributions of any state with limits. Its disclosure requirements are weak and its enforcement essentially non-existent.
But for all that talk, Governors Mario Cuomo, George Pataki, Eliot Spitzer and David Paterson achieved virtually no reforms. Lots of talk, no real action.