BROOKLYN, NY — May 16, 2014 — The New York State Conservative Party sent the following legislative memo to all of the Members of the Legislature seeking to protect the taxpayers of New York State from the wasteful and often abused system of public financing of campaigns. The proposed bill, S.4705-C/A.4980-E, is favored by Speaker Sheldon Silver, Governor Andrew Cuomo, and the Working Families Party who believe taxpayers should pay $6 for every $1 donated. Conservatives believe New York’s citizens should be able to choose the candidates they want to support. The memo follows:
Party Position: The Conservative Party staunchly opposes public monies being used to help elect any elected official, statewide, state legislative office or as a delegate to a constitutional convention.
In September 2011, Jason Farrell published a report for the Center for Competitive Politics that showed how a number of candidates and their associates, in New York City, Maine and Arizona willfully abuse the campaign finance system, exploit loopholes ensuring they can keep much of their donation money off the books, and once in office, often further abuse public funds and even find themselves under investigation for criminal conduct. The abuse of public funds is so severe and the record of corrupt practices and other misdeeds are so rampant, particularly in the city of New York (emphasis added), that such a system cannot possibly live up to the “clean” moniker that has been assigned to it by proponents.
In fact, the NYC Campaign Finance Board, in a 2003 report lamented it had come up short in its goals, and that was long before the Data and Field Services Scandal of 2009 which was four years after the CFB investigated the well documented New York’s Health and Human Services Union, 1199/SEIU, AFL-CIO involvement with Fernando Ferrer’s 2005 mayoral campaign.
The full report is here. Note that in the 10 years the report covers, public funds granted to “clean elections” candidates who were investigated for abuses was $13,924,189. That amount is on the total for those investigated for abuses, not the total amount of taxpayer dollars used to fund New York City elections.
More abuses of campaign financing are being exposed; they include the use of straw donors, attempting to bribe their way on to the ballot and fraudulently increasing campaign contributions to gain grants.
Public funding of campaigns only serves candidates and does nothing to help the citizens whose money is procured by taxes. It does not level the playing field, and it certainly does not provide a benefit to New York’s citizens forced to support candidates they would not vote into office.
As Unshackle Upstate notes in their position paper, a 1995 state Court of Appeals decision concluded that public funds for partisan political purposes is not supported in the New York State Constitution.
As a reminder, the Conservative Party’s executive committee passed a resolution in January, 2014, to double rate any bill that contains any form of campaign financing and we urge you to vote NO on this and similar proposals.
SOURCE: Conservative Party of New York State. Lear more: www.cpnys.org