LEGISLATIVE MEMO: May 3, 2012
Support Fair-Elections:Create a Public Financing System
2012 Campaign Finance Reform Act: S3584-B (Adams)2012 Fair Elections Act: A9885-C (Silver), same as S7036-A (Sampson)
What is a System of “Public Financing”?
Instead of candidates running for office by raising large contributions from corporate specialinterests and wealthy donors, publicly-financed elections allow candidates to run for office withsmall donations from people in their community and receive public funds to run a competitivecampaign.
Background: Why do we need Public Financing?
Big money corporate special interests and their lobbyists hold too much sway over our stategovernment. Voter-owned elections would empower small donors and reduce the influence of wealthy interests in Albany. CWA lobbies and makes campaign donations. But we are under noillusions: we are hugely out-gunned by the rich and the powerful, whether it’s corporations likeVerizon or wealthy people who can hire connected lobbyists and write large campaign checks.CWA members are no different from the 99% of New Yorkers: they cannot write bigcampaign checks or hire lobbyists to make their voices heard. Each year, the arms race of spendingand insider lobbying makes the problem worse. Disclosed lobbying reached $220 million in 2011and State-level election spending reached $246 million in 2010.
What would a strong system of public financing allow?
Elected officials could work more consistently on the many problems that affect the workingand low-income people of the State of New York. Currently, legislators’ efforts are oftenblocked or watered down by corporate donors and wealthy people who dominate the system.
Candidates and incumbent legislators would not have to spend so much time raising largeamounts of private money every two years from the rich and special interests.
Citizen activists who are not wealthy could have more impact on the system through smalldonations and by knocking on doors, working the phones and organizing house partiesduring election season.
Following Governor Cuomo’s State of the State Support for Public Financing,the State Legislature should act now and pass a system of Fair Elections thatincludes matching funds for small donations, reasonable contribution limits toall candidates and adequate administration and enforcement of the program.
For more information contact CWA District 1 at 212-344-2515