There is every reason to believe campaign finance reform will be high on the agenda for the New York State Legislature in 2019. The state’s governor, Andrew Cuomo has proposed small-donor matching fund programs since he took office in 2011, but his proposals have foundered in the Republican-led Senate. After the 2018 election put Democrats in a majority in both chambers, the Assembly and Senate will each have as its leader someone who has been on record as a sponsor of small-donor matching funds. While nothing can ever be certain, the odds clearly have changed.
In light of this situation, the Campaign Finance Institute (CFI) today has released “Small-Donor Matching Funds in New York State Elections: A Policy Analysis of the Potential Impact and Cost .” The full report is based on a rigorous analysis of how key provisions in the governor’s past bills would have affected each of the candidates who ran in 2014 or 2018. While the legislative details may change in 2019, this is a reasonable starting point for future discussion.
The main proposals would reduce the state’s high campaign contribution limits, eliminate a glaring contribution loophole used by limited liability corporations (LLCs), and introduce a small-donor matching fund system for state elections modeled after the successful one in New York City. The goal would be to combat corruption and the appearance of corruption by making the state’s elected officials less dependent on large donors while heightening the connections between them and their less wealthy constituents. …