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The Empire

New group, led by old political hands, backs Cuomo on campaign finance reform

By Karen DeWitt, New York State Public Radio Capital Bureau Chief

A new bipartisan coalition of former elected officials, business and civic leaders, is endorsing Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan for campaign finance reform.

The group, called NY LEAD, includes wealthy civic leaders including David Rockefeller, Jonathan Soros, the son of George Soros, and Frederick A.O. Schwartz, who is now with NYU’s Brennan Center as well as former elected officials of both major parties. Former congressman Scott Murphy says it’s simply wrong that the state’s contribution limits are at $60,000, 12 times more than the amount permitted for the presidential race. And he says donations to party housekeeping accounts is unlimited.

“This system right now is built for the big donor,” Murphy said. “It’s not built for the average donor.”

Murphy compares the battle for a level campaign playing field open to all challengers to the recent Grammy wins by singer Adele. He says she was not supported by big money recording studios- and got her start on YouTube.

Update: An earlier version of this story listed the former congressman as Chris Murphy. It's been updated to reflect the correct name.