For Immediate Release: November 25, 2019
FAIR ELECTIONS DEEPLY DISAPPOINTED WITH FLAWED PROPOSAL & PROCESS FROM GOVERNOR & LEGISLATURE’S FAIR ELECTIONS COMMISSION
LEGISLATURE MUST NOW DELIVER PROMISED MODEL FOR NATION; TOO MUCH CORRUPTING BIG MONEY STILL ALLOWED IN
ATTACK ON MINOR PARTIES BY COMMISSION UNNECESSARY AND INAPPROPRIATE ABUSE OF POWER
Statement from the Fair Elections for New York campaign in response to the Public Campaign Financing Commission proposal:
“Thousands of New Yorkers demanded from the Public Campaign Financing Commission an end to the big-money status quo and the creation of a strong, people-powered democracy. By that gauge, this Commission, and those who created it, have fallen well short.
“Too much big money can and will continue to flow through sky-high contribution limits and virtually uncapped contributions to parties (and possibly via ‘war chests’ and weak ‘doing business’ restrictions — which we can’t know until we see actual bill language), undermining the needs of New York’s communities. Experts also believe program administration inside the Board of Elections will cause enforcement shortcomings that will undermine the program. The Commission also inappropriately moved to kill or severely wound New York’s minor parties, a matter completely irrelevant to public financing of elections, and a clear subversion of the Commission process. We hope the courts will not allow this overreach and abuse of power to stand.
“New York has some of the worst campaign finance laws in the country, which consistently skews public policy-making. Despite a majority of elected officials on the record in support of reform, they never get it done. It’s an open secret as to why: most incumbents — including the Governor — like the status quo and do what they can, in the shadows, to kill meaningful reform.
“Today the state has finally — though begrudgingly, and not without also undermining democracy on other fronts — taken a first step towards campaign finance reform. The positive aspects of today’s vote would not have happened without the 200-plus organizations that make up the Fair Elections campaign, and the many thousands of New Yorkers who joined us to improve what was initially put on the table.
“The Legislature must now immediately introduce and pass legislation to fix the Commission’s shortcomings before the law goes into effect in late December. Nearly 40 legislators from both houses have already courageously called for this in anticipation of the Commission falling short. Leadership should allow for the introduction of bills and a vote. It is time for our elected officials to show courage and leadership; to stand up to whatever political pressure may be holding them back; and to spend political capital to fight for what New York needs and what New Yorkers deserve.”
The Fair Elections for New York campaign includes over 200 community, labor, tenant, immigrant, racial justice, environment, faith, good government, and grassroots resistance organizations who came together to fight for comprehensive campaign finance reform, including small donor public financing. Learn more at FairElectionsNY.org
New Yorkers deserve a responsive, accountable government. Voter turnout in New York is among the lowest in the nation, due in part to antiquated procedures for registration and voting that discourage participation. And our campaign finance system favors the wealthy over everyday, working New Yorkers. To tackle the crises we face in housing, living wage jobs, criminal justice, affordable health care, transportation, climate, fair taxes, and more, we must transform a campaign finance system that advantages the interests of the few over those of the many.
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