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A coordinated effort to overhaul the state’s campaign-finance laws with a host of reform groups and others is in the works, Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters earlier this afternoon.
Cuomo kept the coalition’s plans for overhauling the laws vague because there doesn’t seem to be much of a plan right now.
But the strategy as described by the governor today seems very similar to the coordinated effort to legalize same-sex marriage in New York last year. For that successful effort, Cuomo convinced various LGBT-rights groups, often at odds with each other, to coordinate under one banner, New Yorkers United For Marriage.
Cuomo said the first job of the group is to develop how best to overhaul the state’s donor laws that would pass the Legislature and Constitutional muster in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United case.
“It’s complicated and I think what’s important is we get the support groups to come up with a common agenda and then we push,” Cuomo said.
The effort to overhaul the laws this year and create an public-financing system similar to what’s in place for New York City stalled this year in the state Senate.
Cuomo said the failure to pass that law was because it’s not a priority of the public.
“You have to raise it on the priority list because the legislators are very good at hearing what their constituents want and coming to this town and getting what their constituents want done,” he said.
That will change after this election, Cuomo said, when voters are inundated with TV ads from a variety of groups funded by secret donors.
“Every 10 minutes there’s going to be another TV advertisement — Americans for America, Concerned Citizens for America — and they’re going to be deluged with ads and political propaganda from all sorts of ways and I think they’re going to say the system is out of control,” Cuomo said.
“I think my theory is at the end of the race, they’re going to say we have to do something,” he added.
Of course, Cuomo does not have a so-called “Super PAC” but he does enjoy the support of a group with feel-good sounding name, Committee to Save New York. The coalition of real-estate and private-sector union interests is a registered 501c4, same as a non-profit charity, and does not have reveal its donors.