As Governor Cuomo ends his fourth day in office, New Yorkers are anticipating what his plans are for reforming New York’s government. Here at Citizen Action, we’re wondering if he’ll fulfill his campaign promise of public financing of elections.
Public financing of elections is an essential part of any plan intended to clean up New York’s political process. It’s give government back to voters, and not as we saw in the 2010 election cycle, allow big money special interest and corporations to run our elections.
Several good government groups released a report yesterday analyzing the campaign finance system for the 2010 election period for statewide and state legislative candidates – examining how the campaign finance system in New York State operates and the inference it has on public policy.
The report shows that close to $245 million in campaign money was spent in this past election. $83 million of that money was given by “individuals.”
Corporations contributed 3 times as much as unions. The report shows that some contributors may have given $94,200 to party committees and several “individual” donations were close to $150,000.
What is even more unsettling about the “individual donors” in this report is that most were not New York State residents. A total of 8,750 out of 68,059 “individuals” who donated to candidates and parties were not New York State residents. 4,050 out 0f 443,154 “individuals” who donated to legislative candidates on the general election ballot were also not New York State residents.
At the end of this report, there is an analysis of plausible solutions that can help give elections back to the public and out of the hands of corporations.
We need a public financing structure that makes sure our voices, our main concerns, and our interests come before corporations.
Thank you to New York Public Interest Research Group, Common Cause, League of Women Voters, and Citizens Union for producing this report. It shows the need for a new system for financing campaigns in New York. We hope that Governor Cuomo will fulfill that need this year.
By Tahisha Victor on January 4th, 2011