A new and diverse coalition has formed in New York State to take big-money corporate influence in elections head on.
As the implications of the Supreme Court’s monstrous Citizens United decision have come into full view this election season, a series of allies – including members of the business, media, labor, reform, and activist communities – are advocating for a solution: the public financing of state campaigns. The move would free politicians to run for office without having to bend to those who can write the biggest checks.
The New York Times reported on the development:
“[Coalition members] say New York, which they call a symbol of institutionalized corruption, could become a national model for the effort to free elections from the grip of big money. The campaign will start next week with mailings to the constituents of four state senators.
“For years, government watchdog groups have pressed unsuccessfully for public financing of elections. Leaders of the coalition say the Citizens United ruling and the role of ‘super PACs’ in the presidential race have made campaign finance a more broadly understood and urgent issue.
“‘Right now people are feeling a little bit helpless about super PACs and how to get money out of the system at the federal level,’ said Sean Eldridge…who runs an investment fund and is a leader of the effort. ‘An opportunity to pass campaign finance reform in New York is an opportunity for people to do something — to actually be able to pass a bill, to make progress.’”
Enacting publicly financed campaigns in New York State would send shockwaves through the nation as voters contend with a flood of money in federal and state races this year. Russ Feingold and Progressives United are already proud to support a major source of energy on clean elections in the Empire State, a coalition called New York Leadership for Government Accountability.
We’re thrilled to see the momentum building in today’s news, and we look forward to continuing to help the movement for true democracy and fair elections grow in New York and across the country.