New York, NY – In light of yesterday’s arrest of Democratic State Senator Malcolm Smith and others, Bill Samuels, founder of the reform Albany organization New Roosevelt and co-founder of Effective NY, today again pressured Governor Cuomo to announce a specific plan for Campaign Finance Reform and publicly lead a statewide tour to build support for its passage among voters and lawmakers during the current Albany legislative session.
More specifically, Samuels challenged Cuomo to not accept CFR legislation that has less than the following: 6-1 matching funds for all statewide and legislative candidates; total ban on corporate and LLC contributions and most importantly, put into effect in time for the 2014 election cycle, where the Governor will be up for reelection.
Despite the announcement of a statewide television advertising campaign to build public support for CFR and a Rally for Fair Elections held Wednesday at 1199SEIU headquarters by a coalition of good government, labor and advocacy groups alongside New York elected officials such as Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Samuels remained skeptical of the Governor and urged him to again take a more dramatic and public role in passing meaningful legislation on the issue.
“While I am very pleased to see good government groups and other independent outside organizations raising awareness about the importance of passing a Campaign Finance Reform plan, a central question remains for the Governor,” Samuels said. “Are you Governor going to present your plan and campaign for its complete passage?”
“While the Governor has given a number of speeches on the topic since 2010 and participated in a conference call with activists, he has not, as of yet, introduced his own bill to the legislature. Why?”
“Let’s remember that last November, Governor refused to endorse Democratic State Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk, who made campaign finance reform her top campaign issue and backed by $500,000 in good government group support. Still Cuomo turned his back on her. And with the arrests of Senator Smith and others, the imperative to present his own plan is even greater.”
“Anything short of public financing with a 6 to 1 match; elimination of LLCs and Corporate donations AND most importantly, a plan that goes into effect for the 2014 election, when Cuomo is up for reelection, would be a failure of conviction on this issue by the Governor.”
“In the end, we cannot accept what Cuomo could bill as ‘major reform’ which in reality might only reduce the size of campaign donations, close some loopholes such as unlimited giving to House committees and faster disclosure. That would merely put a few patches on a totally broken system. We must reform the culture in Albany, not merely manage it better,” Samuels concluded.
“The only way a comprehensive Campaign Finance Reform package as outlined above will be passed, is if the Governor presents his own plan and takes it to the public.”
For more information about the New Roosevelt, go to www.newroosevelt.com