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Assembly Unveils Campaign Finance Reform Plan; Cuomo Somewhat Less Than Wildly Impressed

Celeste Katz
Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Silver and Assembly Elections Committee Chairman Michael Cusick of Staten Island introduced legislation creating a voluntary public finance system for state offices. It would allow qualified candidates to receive matching contributions of $6 for every $1 they raise on contributions of up to $250.

The bill requires candidates to have a broad array of contributors by requiring a certain number of small-dollar donors.

To fund the program, the bill calls for an income tax  form check-off of $5 that would be deposited into a “New York State Campaign Finance Fund.” It also adds a 10% surcharge on recoveries from fraudulent practices related  to stocks, bonds and other securities.

While good government groups – including the League of Women Voters and the New York Public Interest Research Group – praised Silver’s move, Cuomo simply shrugged it off.

Cuomo, speaking to reporters in Manhattan, said he had not seen Silver’s proposal and stressed there was no three-way agreement between the Senate, Assembly and his office on campaign reform.

“I normally don’t put out a bill when we can actually get an agreement and pass something,” Cuomo said.

“There’s two basic tracks. You could take the public relations track of appearing to do something. I could put out my bill and rant and rave about it. Or I could actually try and get something done and I’m trying to actually get something done.”

Update: State Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson said in a statement, "Today, I introduced  a version of Speaker Silver's campaign finance reform bill in the Senate. I would hope that the Senate Republicans allow this bill to move forward and join us in supporting this important reform. We have seen the terrible effects and influence that money has had on all levels of  our government. New York  State must once again take the lead by implementing appropriate limits on financial contributions to ensure voters have faith and trust in their elected leaders." 




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