Fair Elections for New York, one of the groups pushing for establishment of a public campaign finance system, is hosting a free screening tonight of “Pricele$$,” a documentary that looks at the pervasive nature of political cash and its power in shaping policy at the national level.
Emmy-nominated filmmaker Steve Cowan will be joined by Rep. Paul Tonko at The Spectrum 8 Theaters, 290 Delaware Ave., Albany at 7 p.m. After the premiere (it’s the first time this movie has been shown loally), the duo will be taking questions from the audience.
Cowan is scheduled to be my guest on CapTon this evening. While preparing for the interview, I came across this trailer, which features clips of interviews with two New York Democrats.
Former Gov. Mario Cuomo: “Who stops us from coming off oil for something else? The oil companies. Why? They’re getting rich.”
Former Rep. Dan Maffei: “It is a part of my life, every day. Every day I go make those calls.”
And God bless Cowan, because he posted the transcripts of his interviews – not just with Cuomo and Maffei, but with everyone who appears in his movie – on his website. The Cuomo interview, in particular, is quite illuminating. He speaks at length about the 2008 presidential race, which was underway at the time of his sit-down, and about the corrupting nature of big money in government.
That’s extra interesting, of course, because Mario Cuomo’s son, Andrew Cuomo, is now sitting where he once was: In the governor’s office, eyeing a potential future presidential run.
Gov. Cuomo included public campaign financing in his 2010 gubernatorial campaign reform platform, and also highlighted it as a priority in his 2012 State of the State address. But he also put a damper on advocates’ hopes that the issue would be taken up before this year’s legislative session ends, saying the rift between the Senate GOP and Assembly Democrats is too wide to be bridged in just a few weeks.
Maffei is currently locked in a re-match with the Republican who ousted him from office in 2010, Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle. In his interview, he describes his “little prison cell of call making” – a basement room his campaign set up where he could make fundraising calls off-site from Capital Hill. Maffei speaks at length about the frustrations and time suck of fundraising, and then says this:
“Who are politicians beholden to? Well, they should be beholden to the voters, the taxpayers in their district. They are also, to a certain extent, talking to their donors. Why not make those two the same thing?”
“When people say, I don’t like public financing. I don’t want all that money wasted – it’s sort of – there’s a contradiction in that. They want politicians to be beholden to the taxpayer, and yet they don’t want the taxpayer to pay for the campaigns. ”
“It’s a far better deal for the American people for taxpayers to pay for the campaigns also – because it means the only people we’ll have to worry about in our day are the taxpayers and constituents in our district, and that’s what we’re supposed to do.”
I’m looking forward to this interview. It will air at 8 p.m. and re-air at 11:30 p.m. (for those who attend tonight’s screening).
|Print article||This entry was posted by Liz Benjamin on May 2, 2012 at 2:25 pm, and is filed under Fundraising, Uncategorized. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|
Comments are closed.