“Despite first year legislative gains, Governor Cuomo is not setting an example on Campaign Finance Reform, an issue he campaigned on and offered a detailed agenda how to fix when in office. To date he has not only failed live up to his campaign promise, but failed to lead by example on the issue, by raising millions of dollars for his reelection using the same broken system. Only through addressing this issue can Albany be reformed and make state government more open, transparent and accountable to the people,” Samuels says
New York, NY – Bill Samuels, founder of the reform Albany organization New Roosevelt, today urged today that Governor Cuomo live up to one of his key campaign pledges– to reform the state’s campaign finance laws and start setting an example for the voters by pledging to not raise money from corporations, opaque LLCs and campaign finance bundlers.
“The top priority for Governor Cuomo in the 2012 legislative must be campaign finance reform. He campaigned on it, released a detailed plan on how to reform the system in the state,” Samuels said. “Yet to date he has not only failed to address the issue but has continued raised money in the same manner which he claims find fault with. If the Governor were to pledge not to take corporate campaign donations, he would be seen immediately as a leader in the state on campaign finance reform.”
In his first year, Governor Cuomo successfully used the existing flawed finance system to raise tremendous amounts of money for his reelection campaign. During a recent examination of Cuomo’s reelection campaign committee filing, New Roosevelt found the following:
• 143 individuals donated between $10,000 and $60,000 to his reelection campaign;
• 234 LLCs have donated more than $1.8 million to his reelection campaign;
• 186 Corporations have made donations to his reelection campaign.
The filing covers the period of January 15, 2011 to July 11, 2011, which covers the time the State legislature was in session. The July 12, 2011 – January 13, 2012 report is expected to be filed by January 17, 2012.
Samuels revealed New Roosevelt’s findings during an appearance on MSNBC’s “The Dylan Ratigan Show,” last Monday afternoon.
Additionally, big business interests in the state, through Committee to Save New York, has supplanted labor unions as the top lobbying interest in the state legislature, spending more than $9.4 million in 2011.
Now is the time for the Governor to return to his pledge to reform campaign finance as detailed in “Clean Up Albany: Make It Work” the 4th in a series by Governor Cuomo that made up the “The New NY Agenda.”
In it, Governor Cuomo said, “In order to restore trust and accountability in government, we must reform the very foundation of democracy — the ballot box. Therefore, we must change our antiquated campaign finance laws. Our current laws amplify the voices of wealthy individuals and special interests and entrench incumbents at the public’s expense.”
The solutions he suggested, but still has failed to enact, include:
• Institute a Voluntary System of Public Funding of Election Campaigns
• Limit Soft Money
• Reduce Sky-High Campaign Contribution Limits
• Close Corporate Subsidiary and LLC Loopholes
• Tighten Inadequate Reporting Requirements
• Restrict Fundraisers during Legislative Session
• Prohibit Personal Use of Campaign Funds
• Improve Enforcement of Campaign Finance laws
• Disclosure of Outside Income Sources and Clients;
• Outlaw “Pay to Play”
• Enact Low Contribution Limits for Public Contractors and Lobbyists
• Immediate Disclosure of Contributions
• Prohibit Public Contracts with Contributors that Have Exceeded Statutory Limits
“Governor Cuomo needs to show leadership on Campaign Finance in the New Year and make it his number one priority on the reform agenda. It is only with such focus and leadership can we truly unshackle our elected officials from a system that requires them to raise campaign donations virtually every minute they are in office,” Samuels said.
For more information about the New Roosevelt, go to www.newrooseveltinitiative.com.