Gov't Groups Support Cuomo's Public Financing Plan

Governor Andrew Cuomo's pledge to create a system of public funding for political campaigns in New York is getting support from a coalition of good government groups.

Common Cause President Bob Edgar said the group chose Friday to launch the new effort because it's the first anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's controversial Citizens United decision, which found that the First Amendment protects unlimited corporate campaign contributions.

"The most effective counter to the loopholes which Citizens United created is to open the floodgates of public financing for election campaigns," he said.

Nick Nyhart, of the group Public Campaign, said a system using state money and donor matching funds would make candidates less dependent on lobbyists.

"Passing a fair election system in New York wouldn't just be good for New Yorkers but would create momentum at the state and national level to pass legislation aimed at putting elections back in the hands of voters," he said.

Backers of the plan estimate that the public financing system would cost the state $15 million a year, which they admit is a tough sell during a fiscal crisis.

The coalition and a number of New York City elected officials are also calling for a bill that would require corporations to fully disclose and obtain shareholder approval for their political spending.