Advocate Says Cuomo Missed Chance to Counter Act Supreme Court Ruling

Apr 3, 2014

The U.S. Supreme court decision McCutcheon v. FEC, striking down some campaign donation limits, is expected to have an effect in New York.  Reform advocates say Governor Cuomo and lawmakers missed a key chance this week to counter act the ruling.

Karen Scharff, with the Fair Elections Coalition, says the Supreme Court ruling means that anyone can now challenge New York’s current donation limits of $150,000 for individuals, and win their case. The only avenue left for an alternative to campaigns funded by wealthy donors, she says, is a voluntary publicly funded matching donor system.

She says state lawmakers, led by Governor Cuomo, could have enacted a broad based public campaign finance system as part of the budget, but in the end rejected the measure in favor of a plan limited to the state Comptroller’s race.

“Unfortunately, Governor Cuomo sided with the Supreme Court this week by choosing his CEO campaign contributors over voters,”  Scharff says.

Governor Cuomo says the votes simply weren’t there in the state Senate to enact broader campaign finance reforms.  

Fair Elections is part of a group of progressive organizations that includes the Working Families Party, and Scharff says a “strong case” can be made for running a more left leaning candidate against Cuomo in the November elections.  But she says there’s no decision yet.