Thursday, Governor Cuomo headlined a fundraiser for the state Democratic Party, at the same time that Cuomo has ramped up talk for reforming the way campaigns are funded in New York. Our Nick Reisman has more.
NEW YORK STATE -- The state's notoriously lax campaign finance laws and their sky-high donor limits haven't been overhauled in years. But after a bill to introduce a taxpayer-funded campaign system failed this legislative session, Governor Andrew Cuomo says he's taking a second look at the issue.
“The challenge with campaign finance is it's not a high enough on the priority list for the people. When the assemblyman goes home and when the senator goes home, they're not hearing enough in the supermarket about why didn't you pass campaign finance,” Cuomo said on Tuesday.
Cuomo, this week, described a strategy similar to his successful push for legalizing same-sex marriage: Get the various advocacy groups to coordinate with one message and conduct a public information campaign.
“There has to be a public education campaign,” Cuomo said. “That means you have to take a very esoteric topic that is confusing and technical and explain it to the people to get political support up. That is what's we're going to undertake to do.”
Bill Mahoney, an analyst with the New York Public Interest Research Group, says there's a basic understanding of what needs to get done in changing the system for the better.
“I think all the good government groups are on the same page on this issue. We've all said for years there should lower limits. There should be bans on housekeeping money to political parties and we also think you should find a way to encourage small donors through a way such as a public financing system,” Mahoney said.
Of course, the governor himself has benefitted from the current campaign laws. After talking to press about the problems with money in politics on Tuesday, he attended a $20,000-a-ticket fundraiser in New York City. With all the record amounts of cash being raised this election cycle, reformers say people will be spurred to demand changes.
Mahoney said, “We'll have to see how he finds a way to make this agreeable to the Senate Republicans, but hopefully there will be enough public pressure after everybody sees the outsized influence of Super PACs at elections of every level.”