Governor Cuomo in the first six months of the year raised $4.5 million, less than a year after winning a third term. But the fundraising comes as a commission is considering a radical alteration of how campaign money is raised and spent in New York, being cautiously cheered by reformers like NYPIRG's Blair Horner.
“This has been an issue that's been on the front burner of New York politics and corruption fighting efforts since the mid-1980s when Mario Cuomo's commission on public integrity called New York's campaign finance system a disgrace,” said Horner.
Cuomo's campaign raised $4.5 million, spent $887,000 and has $8.4 million in cash on hand. The campaign raised money from deep pocketed donors in real estate, health care, lobbying and banking.
“New York like much of America relies on a private system of financing elections and usually those people have business before the government,” said Horner.
But that could change with the creation this year of a commission that could enact a system of publicly financed campaigns in New York. The system would draw on taxpayer dollars and small donor matching system.
“At least with a system of public financing the candidate would be relying on clean public resources in their effort to take on these titans that are running money through an independent expenditure committee,” said Horner.
One of the governor's appointees to the commission is Jay Jacobs, the chairman of the state Democratic Committee. Republicans, including Chairman Nick Langworthy, are crying foul.
“Reforms that have happened in this Capitol in terms of election law this year have been nothing more than effort by the Democrat Party under Andrew Cuomo's watch to legalize rigged elections in this state,” said Langworthy.
The public financing commission is expected to issue a report at the end of the year and, unless lawmakers act, it will become law.