Is campaign finance reform on the table in Albany?
After Governor Andrew Cuomo laid out a plan for campaign finance reform in his State of the State Address, there has been little talk of the issue in Albany. Although Cuomo has raked in millions in campaign funds, he isn't spending the money to get his agenda passed. Our Nick Reisman has more on how the Governor is relying on others to get his message out.
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- In January, Governor Andrew Cuomo told lawmakers he planned a new, expansive push on cleaning up the state's campaign finance laws. Music to the ears of good government advocates are proposals that would
Cuomo said, “Implement a public finance system based on New York City. It works well in New York City, it will work well in New York State.”
And he proposed a tough disclosure law and an end to sky-high contribution limits.
“We need to lower the contribution limits for all offices, political parties, housekeeping accounts, because the limits are just too high,” Cuomo said.
But Cuomo is also sitting on a ton cash raised for a re-election that's well over a year away. He's got $22 million in the bank and he wants more. Cuomo this year is pushing for an aggressive fundraising schedule the same year advocates believe is the ripe for campaign finance reform.
“He's always exploited the system heavily in the past more so anybody else in state government, while at the same time, being a very frequent and vocal critic of the current system. So hopefully he will succeed in his promises which he's made the past couple of years and actually this year introduce a get a bill passed,” said Bill Mahoney, a NYPIRG researcher.
Unlike his first two years in office, there's no independent group backing Cuomo's budget with an expensive ad campaign. Taking the place of the Committee to Save New York is a blanket wave of ads financed by the state Democratic Party.
The benefit of Cuomo's political apparatus running the campaign is apparent.
Mahoney said, “Obviously it gives him more control over the money. It can go directly to the housekeeping committee for the state party and he can receive unlimited amounts and he can spend it however he sees fit.”
The Committee to Save New York's silence comes as Cuomo emphasizes a decidedly liberal agenda like raising the state's minimum wage, a proposal the group's monied business interests have opposed. For Cuomo's part, he wasn't concerned with the lack of support from the group.
“They support what they want to support,” Cuomo said. “They don't support what they don't support.”