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Reform Groups Applaud Cuomo's Campaign Finance Proposals

Monday, January 20, 2014

Good government groups said they are pleased that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo would put money in his new state budget to fund the public financing of campaigns, as well as money for better enforcement of existing campaign laws.

A Cuomo administration official says the governor on Tuesday would seek funding for a matching donor public campaign finance system for statewide elections. He'll also ask for $4 million to create an independent unit at the Board of Elections to enforce existing state  laws.

The Board of Elections has not had any investigators to probe campaign reporting violations in several years.

Karen Scharff, with Citizen Action, said she’s pleased that the governor is serious enough about his proposals to actually budget money to fund them.

“He’s showing that he’s serious about cleaning up Albany finally and fixing our broken camping finance system, “ Scharff said. 

The public campaign financing proposal faces a steep hurdle in the State Senate where Republicans oppose the measure, saying it would be a waste of the taxpayers’ money.

Cuomo has been adept at using the current campaign finance rules, raising $33 million dollars for his campaign war chest. The bulk of that money came from large donations.

Meanwhile, a Siena College poll showed a majority of New Yorkers supported  public campaign financing by 64 percent to 30 percent. 

That same poll asked New Yorkers about medical marijuana. It found that most would like to see the state go further than an experimental proposal that Cuomo put forward. But the majority is not ready to see marijuana legalized for recreational use.

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