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Campaign Finance Reform

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A Modest Election Finance Reform Proposal (That Might Actually Work)

Friday, October 24, 2014

"Dark money," political donations that cannot be traced to any person or organization, is buying an avalanche of ads in states with big mid-term elections this year. 

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Governor Cuomo's Budget

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Larry Schwartz, secretary to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), goes through the details of Governor Cuomo's budget proposal, including statewide pre-K and campaign finance reform.

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WNYC News

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.

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WNYC News

Good Gov Groups Want Cuomo to Budget for Campaign Finance Reform

Monday, January 20, 2014

Thirty reform groups have written to Governor Andrew Cuomo, requesting that the new state budget plan he unveils on Tuesday include funds for campaign finance reform. 

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Albany Surprises

Monday, August 19, 2013

Bill Mahoney, research coordinator at NYPIRG, talks about some of the surprises in the end-of-session legislative flurry that are just now getting attention and how campaign finance reform might change the process.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Legislative Session Wrap-Up

Thursday, June 13, 2013

With the legislative session scheduled to end next week, New York State Senator Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) talks about pending legislation and her call for gridlock if the Women's Equality Act doesn't get a vote in the Senate.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

AG Schneiderman: Campaign Finance Reform

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

New York's attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, talks about the new regulations on non-profits, including 501(c)(4)s, that spend more than $10,000 on elections.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Storm Prep; Eric Schneiderman; Non-Profit Corruption; Ask Me Another

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Mayor Bloomberg announced a major plan to prepare the city for the next big storm. Seth Pinsky of the New York City Economic Development Corporation is here to discuss. Plus: Attorney General Eric Schneiderman; corruption at non-profits; a neuroscientist’s ideas about drugs; and Ophira Eisenberg from NPR’s quiz show “Ask Me Another.”   

The Brian Lehrer Show

Can Albany Be Reformed?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

There were more developments this week in the bribery and corruption probe that brought down State Senator Malcolm Smith and City Councilman Dan Halloran. And this most recent scandal is just the latest in a line of arrests, resignations, and revelations about New York politicians. Former Governor David Paterson discusses the culture of corruption in New York, and efforts to change it.

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WNYC News

Cuomo Begins Outlining Agenda for Next Year

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Governor Andrew Cuomo says he wants backing from the State Senate on a number of issues he’s dubbed his “litmus test,” including raising the minimum wage and reforming New York City’s stop-and-frisk policies, as well as campaign finance reform. 

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WNYC News

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.

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WNYC News

Senate GOP Leader Dampens Expectations on Progressive Bills

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Senate Republicans dampened expectations Tuesday that the new governing coalition in the chamber would move quickly on progressive issues championed by Democrats, including a minimum wage increase and public financing of campaigns.

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It's A Free Country ®

As Republicans Block DISCLOSE Act, Romney's Position Unclear

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

After Senate Republicans won a vote along party lines to kill the DISCLOSE Act, campaign finance reformers may have to wait until after the election to see any meaningful legislation come before Congress.

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The Takeaway

Obama's Lead Grows in Swing States

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pundits and pollsters are calling it a dead heat, but November's election may not be as close as it seems. Whichever way swing states lean could mean the victory for either of the candidates, and current polling data shows President Obama with a significant lead in those battleground regions.

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It's A Free Country ®

Campaign Finance Watchdogs Regroup After Supreme Court's Montana Decision

Monday, June 25, 2012

In fewer than 200 words on Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Montana's 100-year-old prohibition on corporate spending in elections, setting the stage for renewed efforts to overturn Citizens United that don't involve the nation's highest court.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Business Leaders for Public Financing

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Leo Hindery, managing partner of InterMedia Partners, a New York-based media industry private equity fund, and Sean Eldridge, president of Hudson River Ventures, a small business investment fund focused on the Hudson Valley, talk about the coalition of corporate and political voices, the New York Leadership for Accountable Government, that hopes to bring public financing to New York state elections.

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The Empire

Cuomo Not Pumped about Keeping Campaign Finance Reform Vow

Thursday, April 26, 2012

While the governor has indicated his support and the Democratically controlled Assembly has put forward a bill, conversations with people in Senate Republican circles say there is little to no appetite to take up the issue of campaign finance.

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The Empire

Good gov groups blast Board of Elections over new transparency requirements

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

In a joint release, the state's leading good government groups blasted the state's Board of Elections over a set of draft regulations governing that they say would allow huge sums of money to be spent in elections without proper disclosure to the public of who's behind the spending.

The board is mandated under a law passed last year to draft rules to govern"independent" campaign spending. The rules were supposed to be in place by January 1, 2012. The first draft was published yesterday.

"The current draft applies only to spending by individuals and committees which expressly tells voters to support or oppose a candidate. Advertisements that criticize a candidate’s positions on issues a week before Election Day would fall outside of these limited parameters," the release said.

The groups also criticized what the say as lax rules for filing information on who is spending in elections. While campaigns, candidates and political parties are held to relatively strict spending rules, outside groups and individuals wouldn't even be required under the draft rules to tell the public which campaigns they spent money on, charge the good government groups.

"Members of the public who hope to figure out how much money was spent on their legislators’ races will be unable to do so," the release said. "While independent expenditures, like every other committee, will need to submit copies of their advertisements to the State Board of Elections, these are not due until nearly a month after elections."

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The Empire

The Empire's 2012 Legislative Session Preview

Friday, December 30, 2011

Will the Governor have another MVP year? (Courtesy of the Governor's office.)

On Wednesday January 4, Governor Andrew Cuomo will deliver the 2012 State of the State in Albany, marking the beginning of a new legislative session. We spoke to numerous political consultants, lawmakers and good government groups to find out what New Yorkers can expect from state government this year.

The budget

Perhaps the real genius behind Cuomo’s on-time, balanced budget last year was that it also finalized most of this year’s budget as well. Through budget cuts and offsets, the Governor and the legislature were able to close a $10 billion gap last year. While far smaller,a gap has also opened up this year. The tax reform deal pulled together earlier this month helped close that gap significantly, but how the remaining $2 billion or so gets filled this time around is still an unknown.

“We know that they did the deal to do a temporary restructuring of the tax code which is going to bring in some new revenues, and now the question is, what are they going to do in the budget,” said Elizabeth Lynam with the Citizen’s Budget Commission, which has put out its own read on the upcoming budget.

She said she hoped the Governor and legislature resist the temptation to find new sources of revenue (i.e. raising taxes) and instead “move forward with the continued restructuring of the state’s obligations” (i.e. cut state spending on programs).

Democratic State Senator Liz Krueger of Manhattan—the ranking member on the Senate’s finance committee—is worried the Governor will do the opposite. “I'm very concerned there will be pressure to cut even further into critical programs,” she said. She argued that the tax reform didn’t go far enough, and favored revisiting corporate tax loopholes and other potential revenue generators.

Health care

One of the big outstanding issues in the coming budget process will be health care. The Governor has promised a four percent increase in spending on health care this year as part of the budget deal last year. But Senator John DeFrancisco, chair of the Senate’s finance committee, says this is the first place lawmakers should be looking to continue to trim the fat.

“I think the most important thing to do this year is to keep the momentum going that we started last year with the $10 billion in cuts in the budget and two percent property tax cap. In other words the fiscally conservative things we have done to try and…get rid of the structural deficit in the State of New York. And that means continual cuts,” DeFrancisco said.

The first place he said he and his Republican colleagues in the Senate majority see that happening is in Medicaid. “That’s the part of the budget that keeps rising exponentially and has to be dealt with in a way that will have year-after-year savings,” he said, pointing to a number of areas, such as limiting what Medicaid will cover and enforcing prescription copays.

Education

The other major area of the budget that will likely come into play is the other promised four percent spending increase made by Cuomo last year—to education. The issue is not whether the spending will go up, but about who will get it and if it will be enough.

“I really think this whole aid to education is going to be a sticking point, and how it's being divvied up,” said Assembly Republican Minority Leader Brian Kolb. He was critical of what he called the Governor’s “cookie cutter approach” and that upstate and poorer districts weren’t getting what they need.

“This is not about teachers, this is not about defending the status quo,” Kolb said. “It’s going to come down to how well we spend the money we do have."

Bob Ward of the Rockefeller Institute at the University of Albany thinks there could be a push to increase the amount the state spends.

“I think the key question will be, can more dollars be found to add to the existing four percentage increase? Certainly the legislature will want to do that.” Ward said. “The teachers unions will be pushing very hard for increases."

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The Empire

'The Capitol Pressroom' with Susan Arbetter

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Today on "The Capitol Pressroom":

What are next session’s most critical issues? We hear first from the Senate Democrats represented by Senator Neil Breslin.

Former gubernatorial candidate John Faso shares the GOP’s priorities, as well as his take on the future of the State's Republican Party.

Bill Samuels, Founder of the New Roosevelt Institute, is pressing Governor Cuomo to take a lead role in campaign finance reform by pledging not to take corporate campaign donations.

Bob Ward of the Rockefeller Institute on taxation and representation.

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