Public campaign finance task force faces call for update
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A task force setting rules for New York state’s new $100 million public campaign finance system faced calls Monday to give the public another chance to weigh in before a looming December deadline.
The League of Women Voters and other advocacy groups sent a letter Monday asking the Public Campaign Financing Commission to release interim recommendations to the public by the first week of November.
“It would help avoid a rush at the end to meet the December 1 deadline — and would increase public trust in this process and final result,” reads the group’s letter.
Known as a small donor matching program, the system will provide $100 million in public financing to candidates who get small private donations. The idea is to reduce the power of deep-pocketed donors and corporations whose contributions can dwarf those of individual voters.
The commission has until Dec. 1 to announce rules that will become law unless lawmakers hold a rare end-of-year special session to reject them.
It’s a looming timeline for such a weighty subject, according to the letter from advocacy groups, which also include Reinvent Albany, Common Cause New York and the Brennan Center for Justice.
“You have a challenging task crafting a public financing system, made even more challenging by your lack of staff support and getting it completed in the 37 working days left,” reads the letter.
The groups say there’s some agreement among legislative officials and the governor on some basics, such as making the system permanent, covering primary and general elections, and including at least a 6-to-1 match on small donations for in-state contributions.
Such supporters, who want the state to follow New York City’s own public matching funds program, are also calling for an independent enforcement unit and reduced contribution limits for candidates who participate, as well as for those who decline.
Cuomo’s office declined to comment. Several members of the commission, which met for the first time in August, did not immediately comment Monday.