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January 11, 2019

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo

Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224

The Honorable Andrea Stewart-Cousins

Majority Leader of the New York State Senate
188 State Street
Room 907, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247

The Honorable Carl E. Heastie

Speaker of the New York State Assembly
Legislative Office Building, Room 932
Albany, NY 12248

Dear Governor Cuomo, Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, and Speaker Heastie:

Congratulations on your reelection. You enter 2019 with a rare mandate to enact bold change. We urge
you to seize this chance to restore New Yorkers’ faith in democracy and government by enacting the
foundational reform you each have championed for years: comprehensive campaign finance reform. We
believe this would greatly improve New York’s government. Together with critical voting reforms, this
could move the state from lagging behind to serving as a beacon of democracy for the rest of the country.

New York’s democratic systems urgently need improvement. Voting rates are among the nation’s lowest.
Campaign finance loopholes are among the most porous. Small donors in New York give less as a share
of total donations than in almost any other state. Polling place chaos portends further problems. At a
minimum, New York must catch up to the rest of the nation and enact voting reforms including automatic
voter registration and early voting, which will give citizens a louder voice.

More boldly, the state should overhaul its campaign finance regime by adopting a small donor public
financing match system along with lower contribution limits and closing loopholes.

Creation of a statewide small donor public financing system would be a national breakthrough for
democracy. Such an approach:

1. Lowers barriers to entry for qualified candidates of all backgrounds;

2. Enhances the racial, economic, and gender diversity of donors; and
3. Opens a gateway for other forms of engagement, like volunteering for campaigns and canvassing

Reform gives ordinary citizens the loudest voice, even in an era of dark money and Super PACs.

Such a system has proven successful and popular in New York City and Los Angeles, among other
jurisdictions. It lets lawmakers spend more time with constituents and focus on the public interest. It leads
to better policymaking and enhanced public trust.
For these reasons, as state leaders in business, the arts, philanthropy, and education, we have joined New
York Leadership for Accountable Government (NY LEAD), a group created to educate the public on the
value of this reform.

Bold reform is never easy. We do not doubt that you will face pressure to take democracy reform in small
steps. We urge you not to rest at remedial measures, but rather to cut a path the nation can follow. Passing
statewide small donor public financing, along with lowering contribution limits and closing the LLC
loophole, would be the boldest response to Citizens United to emerge from any state in the nation.

We stand ready to assist in your efforts to enact groundbreaking democracy reform, and to herald the
achievement to New Yorkers and all Americans when you succeed.


Richard Aborn
President, Citizens Crime Commission of New York City

Alec Baldwin

Trey Beck
Chair, Innovations for Poverty Action Board of Directors
Former Managing Director, D.E. Shaw & Co.

Frances Beinecke
Former President, NRDC

Gerald Benjamin
Associate Vice President for Regional Engagement, SUNY New Paltz

Jeff Benjamin
Retired Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer, Avon Products,

Max Berger
Senior Founding Partner, Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP

Tom Bernstein
President and Co-Founder, Chelsea Piers, LP

Andrea Bonime-Blanc
Founder and CEO, GEC Risk Advisory LLC
Author, Board Member

*Affiliations are for identification purposes only.

Jacqueline E. Brevard
Senior Advisor, GEC Risk Advisory LLC

David L. Calone
President and CEO, Jove Equity Partners LLC

Daniel J. Castleman
Former Manhattan Chief Assistant District Attorney
Former Commissioner, Moreland Commission

Ellen Chesler
Senior Fellow, Roosevelt Institute

Diana Cihak
Founder, WEPAC and the WomenElect Program
President, Upper Edge Consulting LLC

John P. “Sean” Coffey

Partner, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP

Pierce Delahunt
Freelance Activist Educator
Member, Patriotic Millionaires

Craig Dessen
Consultant, Calibre One Inc.

Cynthia DiBartolo
Chairperson, Greater New York Chamber of Commerce
Founder & CEO, Tigress Financial Partners LLC

Anne Dinning
Vice Chair, Robin Hood Foundation Board

Patricia Duff
Founder, The Common Good

Dr. Hazel N. Dukes

President, NAACP New York State Conference

Hon. John R. Dunne

Senior Counsel, Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP
Former New York State Senator

C. Virginia Fields
President & CEO, National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc.
James A. Gardner
Bridget and Thomas Black SUNY Distinguished Professor, University at Buffalo School of Law Former
Dean, University at Buffalo School of Law

Faith Gay
Founding Partner, Selendy & Gay PLLC

DeNora Getachew
New York City Executive Director, Generation Citizen

David Goodman
President, Andrew Goodman Foundation

Jeffrey Gural
Chairman, GFP Real Estate LLC

Steven Haft, Esq.

Head of Global Partnerships, Consensys

Angela Hansen
CEO, Global Knowledge Initiative

Hon. Jane D. Hartley

Former U.S. Ambassador to France and Monaco

Christie Hefner
Former Chairman and CEO, Playboy Enterprises

Anne H. Hess
Community Resource Exchange Board of Directors

Leo Hindery
Managing Partner, InterMedia Partners

Hon. Elizabeth Holtzman

Counsel & Co-Chair, Government Relations Group, Herrick, Feinstein LLP
Former U.S. Representative, Kings County District Attorney, and New York City Comptroller

Chris Hughes
Co-founder, Facebook
Co-Chair, Economic Security Project

Chris Jackson

Seymour W. James
Partner, Barket Eptstein Kearon Aldea & LoTurco LLP

James E. Johnson
Of Counsel, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
Craig Kaplan
Of Counsel, Rabinowitz, Boudin, Standard, Krinsky & Lieberman P.C.

Brad Karp
Chairman, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

Daniel F. Kolb
Senior Counsel, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

Eric Lane
Eric J. Schmertz Distinguished Professor of Public Law and Public Service,
Hofstra University School of Law
Former Dean, Hofstra University School of Law

Lance Liebman
William S. Beinecke Professor of Law, Columbia Law School

Michael Lynton
Chairman, Snap

Kathryn Grant Madigan

Chair, Binghamton University Council
Partner, Levene Gouldin & Thompson LLP

Vincent Mai
Founder and Chairman, Cranmere LLC

Keith Mestrich
President and CEO, Amalgamated Bank

Hon. Scott Murphy

Managing Director, Advantage Capital
Former U.S. Representative (D-NY-20)

Makau W. Mutua
SUNY Distinguished Professor Floyd H. and Hilda Hurst Faculty Scholar
Former Dean, University at Buffalo Law School

Craig Newmark
Founder, Craigslist & Craig Newmark Philanthropies

Morris Pearl
Chair, Patriotic Millionaires

Piper Perabo
Michael Pernick
Senior Fellow, Millennial Policy Initiative Commission on Democracy and Voting Rights
Attorney, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

Marjorie Press Lindblom

Of Counsel and Retired Partner, Kirkland & Ellis LLP

K. Sabeel Rahman
President, Demos

Andrew Rasiej
Founder and CEO, Civic Hall

Steven A. Reiss
Partner, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP

Té Revesz
Principal, Global Reach

Richard Revesz
Lawrence King Professor of Law, NYU School of Law
Dean Emeritus, NYU School of Law
Director, Institute for Policy Integrity at NYU School of Law

Rashad Robinson
President, Color Of Change

Jonathan F.P. Rose

President, Jonathan Rose Companies

Susan A. Rubinstein
Board Chair, Common Cause NY
Member, Common Cause National Governing Board

George Rupp

Jeffrey Sachs
University Professor and Director, Center for Sustainable Development, Columbia University

Frederick A.O. Schwarz, Jr.

Chief Counsel, Brennan Center for Justice

Robert A. Scott
President Emeritus, Adelphi University

Claire Silberman
Member, Women Donors Network

Daniel A. Simon
Senior Advisor on Money in Politics, Voices for Progress
Jonathan Soros
CEO, JS Capital Management LLC

Max Stone
Managing Director, D.E. Shaw & Co.

Rhea Suh
President, Natural Resources Defense Council

Andrew Tobias
Author and Former Treasurer, Democratic National Committee

Gerald Torres
Jane M.G. Foster Professor of Law, Cornell University Law School

Hon. William vanden Heuvel

Chair Emeritus and Founder, Roosevelt Institute
Former US Ambassador to United Nations

Christine A. Varney
Partner, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

Jim Walden
Managing Partner, Walden Macht & Haran LLP

Marc N. Weiss
Creator, P.O.V.

Milton L. Williams, Jr.

Partner, Walden Macht & Haran LLP
Former Co-Chair, Moreland Commission

Kent Yalowitz
Partner, Arnold & Porter

Peter Zimroth
Director, Center on Civil Justice at NYU School of Law

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