The Fate Of Public Financing In The Senate
The passage of a public financing system in the state Senate has not fared well in the most recent legislative sessions, but good-government advocates hope that with the 101-page preliminary report from the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption, the needle will move in their direction.
The Democratic-led Assembly has approved public financing measures in the past, including bills originating in that chamber creating a small-donor matching system similar to New York City (the bills have not included a ban on housekeeping accounts, a back-door way of raising unlimited cash).
And despite a multi-million dollar effort to boost public financing — most notably in a tag-team effort from House candidate Sean Eldridge and Jonathan Soros — the effort has largely failed.
Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins in a statement noted the conference has backed many of the recommendations in the past, which includes public financing and a tightening of ethics enforcement.
“This preliminary report details common-sense steps to clean up Albany. As evidenced by our own package of reforms introduced last year, Senate Democratic Conference members have been staunch advocates for many of these recommendations. We look forward to helping restore the public’s trust in government.”
Senate Republicans, not surprisingly, seized on the seven-person dissent in the commission’s preliminary report that gave a pointed rebuttal to the public financing recommendation.
In a statement, Senate GOP spokesman Scott Reif indicated the conference would be open to discussing some of the ethics overhaul ideas (keep in mind, the Republican conference alongside the Assembly Democrats and Senate IDC filed a legal challenge to the legitimacy of the commission itself to subpoena outside business interests and clients).
But public financing, again, will be a non-starter for the Republicans, who share power with the four-member IDC.
“We will review the recommendations released by the Moreland Commission late last night, and expect that these proposals will be a part of our discussions during the next legislative session. One interesting aspect of the report is that it includes a bipartisan dissent on taxpayer-funded political campaigns, which have been estimated to cost upwards of $200 million. Senate Republicans continue to oppose the creation of a statewide campaign finance system funded by taxpayers, which would needlessly divert resources away from our schools, infrastructure and initiatives to provide tax relief for hardworking families.”
The Independent Democratic Conference released an omnibus package earlier this year that included a public financing piece with an end to housekeeping accounts (the IDC does not have a soft money account, but does control a PAC).
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on December 3, 2013 at 11:57 am, and is filed under Campaign Finance Reform. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|