Cuomo tackles campaign finance reform in telephone town hall

Mar 12, 2013

Credit Times Union Website Crime Confidential Blog

With a new poll showing his favorability rating slipping, Governor Andrew Cuomo made an appearance by telephone last night to weigh in on fair elections in New York.  

Billed as a Fair Elections Telephone Town Hall with Governor Cuomo, it provided a vehicle for the state's top executive to argue his case for a campaign finance model that mirrors one in place in New York City.

Cuomo's plan places stricter limits on what candidates may raise and spend while backing up more campaigns via matching public funds. He envisions what he calls "almost real-time"  internet tracking of contributions for candidates, political committees and lobbying committees.

The governor concedes the state can't overrule federal law but he says it CAN mandate aggressive disclosure and regulate when an entity is actually electioneering, triggering the disclosure rule.

In theory, Fair Elections levels the playing field - but what about those PACs and SUPER PACs that drown favored candidates in cash?  NYPIRG's Bill Mahoney says its always going to be difficult to regulate such entities.
Governor Cuomo, himself a master political fundraiser, stressed his belief in the essence and capacity of government. Once budget negotiations are complete,campaign finance reform is expected to be the No. 1 topic among lawmakers in Albany.