To the Editor,
The NY State Legislature passed historic reforms in 2019. Campaign finance reform did not make it. Politicians in NY still must fund-raise like crazy from sources who can make the biggest contributions.The two worst effects of this are that candidates have little time to spend with future constituents listening to their concerns, and that they are under pressure to create policy that favors big donors.
One way to get big money out is for the state to match small donations at least at the rate of 6 to 1. This would mean that candidates who do not have big-$-donors would have enough money to be competitive. Small donor matching has been tried. Details of plans that work are known. The NYC plan has been very successful. A few other major cities and the state of Connecticut have implemented plans with necessary controls to prevent abuse.
A major positive effect of small donor matching is that candidates spend their time with their constituents, listening to concerns while soliciting donations, donations that will give their campaigns significant financial support. Candidates like this. Many with potential big donors have chosen instead to work among constituents. Constituents feel heard. This is a win-win.
Since campaign finance reform is not yet NY law, a commission was appointed to recommend reforms. This Governor’s Campaign Finance Reform Commission will produce a report by December 1, 2019. The Commission’s recommendations become law on January 1, 2020. If NY Legislators do not agree with the report ‘s recommendations, they will have to call a special session during December and come to agreement before January 1.
Small donor matching funds is a clear path to limiting big money in NY politics. If the commission fails to recommend it, the Legislature must hold its special session and make it law!