Fair elections supporters held a conference call this week to push for New York State campaign finance reform and public funding of elections.
A coalition of citizen activist groups including Citizen Action and the Working Families Party used the call as a platform to state their case for establishing a public financing system for New York state elections.
On their side: State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, a Democrat and former longtime Assemblyman. DiNapoli thinks that fair elections is fair game for the Moreland Commission, formed by Governor Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to uncover corruption among public officials. The comptroller conceded that rolling out a statewide public financing system would be costly.
New York City Comptroller-elect Scott Stringer was also on the call. He attributed his successful campaign, including a tight primary against former Governor Eliot Spitzer, to the Big Apple’s small-donor matching system.
Stringer says his defeat of Spitzer exemplifies why public financing works. Advocates would like to see the system in place in time for the 2014 elections.
Call organizers are hopeful that a grassroots groundswell of support will propel public financing through Albany – transitioning the Capital City into a “new” Albany, where elections will be more competitive and candidates more accountable.