In January, Gov. Cuomo reiterated a point in his State of the State address that he’s made since his first day on office: New York needs to completely overhaul its campaign finance system ASAP.
“We must enact campaign finance reform because people believe that campaigns are financed by someone else at exorbitant rates,” he told the audience. Except, in a modern political landscape where voices are heard through dollar signs, his plan has not made it out of the rhetorical stage.
But maybe a boost from a victorious White House team will help a bit.
According to Politico, Organizing for America (OFA) will join forces on the “fair elections” issue with Cuomo and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, starting first with a conference call for supporters. “This is about empowering real people in the political process and making sure that voters are the ones deciding an election — not the corporations, special-interest groups, or lobbyists,” an e-mail told members.
For those who missed the last two Presidential elections, OFA, formerly known as Obama for America, is the unbelievably powerful grassroots side of the Obama administration–a well-equipped and super-high-tech force of Democrats who have redefined canvassing in the modern era. That might sound hyperbolic, but these guys beat Mitt Romney–a candidate held up by more Wall Street money than the Monopoly man.
Cuomo has gained quite a powerful ally in this fight.
As of now, individual donors in New York state elections can do essentially whatever they want (maximum contributions right now are past $10,000). In lieu of that, the governor wants to implement a matching funds system similar to the one we have here in the city. Anyone with a last name that isn’t Bloomberg would say it’s mediocre at best.
The move by OFA could signal a change of pace on overturning Citizens United via constitutional amendment–a gesture mentioned sotto voce by the White House a few times. In turn, that’ll make sure none of this happens again.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on March 27, 2013