Now that Former State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos has been convicted of corruption and will spend the next several years either on appeal or in prison, calls for some of the big ticket policy items he scuttled over the years have been renewed. Chief among them is campaign finance reform where the State could adopt a system similar to New York City’s taxpayer funded public matching program ( “sure, you wanna run for public office? No, please…allow us to pay for that” ).

I liken Skelos’ role in this whole debate to that of “Shorts Guy.” You know who I’m talking about. That guy who wears shorts a little too early on the first warm day after a long winter when it’s only like, 58 degrees. You wanna be like, “c’mon, dude. It’s not that warm outside yet.” Skelos just always seemed to be the guy everyone was pointing at. He was for it, then he wasn’t for it. It was an endless back and forth over whether Governor Cuomo could twist his arm back far enough that he might relent. Often, Skelos would say, “uncle” only to then renege. Much of this was already written about, including by the great Ken Lovett.

But perhaps unburdened by the death of Skelos’ political career, sources are coming forward to offer more detailed accounts of what exactly happened in those critical years of 2013 and 2014 when campaign finance had one of it’s best chances of actually getting approved in both houses. in 2013 both Cuomo and IDC leader Jeff Klein were under tremendous pressure to get some form of campaign finance reform. Klein was in the first year of his coalition with Skelos, and good government groups were demanding that he and the Governor get something done. Skelos promised to support an amendment that would go to voters in a referendum, but then sources say he changed his mind. By the end of the session in June, nothing had been voted on by the upper house so Cuomo created the now infamous Moreland Commission to “use as a hammer” against the legislature. Primarily to force Skelos’ hand on campaign finance reform.

Fast forward to 2014, when Skelos, Cuomo, Klein and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver were negotiating the budget. Skelos again promised to deliver, but then did not. Ultimately he agreed to a pilot program of public financing that would be relegated just to the State Comptroller’s race. This was lauded as a huge accomplishment by Cuomo, who then agreed to un-sic the dogs by disbanding Moreland. More promises were made about revisiting the issue in June.

On June 8th 2014, Klein, Skelos and Cuomo held a private meeting in Manhattan where once again Skelos agreed to bring a bill to the floor. Cuomo, who was in his re-election year, was coming under increasing pressure from the left. Just a few days earlier he had pledged in that hostage video to fulfill the progressive wish list in exchange for the endorsement of the Working Families Party. Cuomo reached out to developer Rob Speyer to apply pressure on Skelos. A tacit agrement was starting to take shape whereby Republicans would vote for public funding of elections, and Speyer and his fellow developers could stop spending all this money to keep people like Skelos and other Senate Republicans in office ( So, you know, everybody wins ).

A meeting is set up among Klein, Speyer and Skelos. But while the parties were literally en route, Skelos cancelled the meeting and never rescheduled. Campaign finance reform was officially dead.

So, the question now is…will Republicans support it this time around? Cuomo announces it as a priority every year in the State of the State message, and will presumably make a case once again now that Skelos and Silver have both been convicted of federal corruption and the public may genuinely want to see the deleterious effect of big money in politics finally come to an end. But, the short answer is probably not as long as the Senate remains under Republican control. Democrats may finally get their chance if they can win control of the Senate next year. If that happens, it will be very interesting to see how committed the Democrats are to passing a non-watered down bill. But Unlikely that will happen before 2017.