Back in 1988, a commission created by Gov. Mario Cuomo called New York State’s political campaign finance system an “embarrassment” and “disgrace.” Three decades later, not much has changed. Capital Investments, a new report published by the New York Public Interest Research Group, and endorsed by Reinvent Albany was presented in Albany earlier this week. Here are some of the report’s key findings and recommendations.
#1: In the 2018 election cycle, powerful and wealthy interests continue to be the dominant sources of campaign contributions given to winning candidates for the Assembly.
#2: Powerful and wealthy interests – as opposed to everyday New Yorkers – continue to be the dominant sources of campaign contributions to winning candidates for the Senate.
#3: For the 2018 election period winning legislative candidates raised over $41 million.
#4: Fundraising events held for leadership across the state and legislative candidates in Albany during the legislative session swell in number right before the state budget is adopted.
Establish a voluntary system of public financing of elections.
Lower campaign contribution limits.
Place meaningful limits on donations to “housekeeping accounts.”
Require the disclosure of campaign finance “bundlers.”
Place restrictions on lobbyists, lobbyists’ PACs, and those seeking or receiving government contracts, from making campaign contributions.