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Cuomo, Schneiderman Offer Differing Campaign Finance Reform Proposals

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman wants to shine some light on the dark money in politics, while Governor Andrew Cuomo says he wants to simplify campaign finance rules.

Schneiderman proposed new rules Wednesday that would require non-profits to disclose their political spending on state and local races starting next year.

The rule would apply to tax-exempt organizations both  in and out of state.

"The problem with the use of non-profits is that non-profits do not reveal the identity of donors. So this is really an abuse of the non-profit form by people who are seeking to influence elections but don't want to reveal their identity," he told WNYC's Amy Eddings.

The attorney general will hold public hearings on the proposal early next year.

Hours later, Governor Cuomo said he would also introduce legislation to regulate electioneering activities by some not for profits that have become increasingly influential players  in funding political campaigns.

As part of campaign finance reform bill that the governor intends to introduce soon, he’ll require that the not for profits, known to critics as “dark money groups,” disclose campaign contributions to politicians. Cuomo says his bill goes further than a plan by Schneiderman, because the attorney general can only regulate the not for profits registered in New York State.

“You have all these national not for profits that aren’t registered in New York, but we were just watching their advertising during the Presidential campaign,” Cuomo said. “I want them covered also.”

In an interview with public radio, Cuomo stopped short of drawing a line in the sand over the issue of public campaign financing, something many advocates have called for.  The governor says it’s “very, very important”, but did not specifically say that it would be a make or break issue in negotiations with the legislature.

“I very much would like to have the State of New York be the progressive leader when it comes to campaign finance reform,” said Cuomo. “That’s going to be our goal.”

Listen to Amy Edding's full interview with Attorney General Schneiderman above.

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