January 26th, 2015
Cuomo Given a Blunt Ultimatum Today: Put Small Donor Matching Funds in the Budget or Rename Your Administration Cuomo INC., In Honor of All the Corporate Donors Funding Your Re-Election
New York, NY—EffectiveNY, a progressive good-government organization, came out swinging against Governor Cuomo today, and gave him a blunt ultimatum: either put small donor matching funds in this year’s budget, or rename your administration Cuomo INC. in honor of the growing number of corporate donors who are bankrolling your re-election campaign.
“Cuomo can’t have it both ways. Either he is a real campaign finance reformer or he isn’t. If he is a real reformer, he will move quickly to add small donor matching funds to his budget this session. If he isn’t, he should be honest with all New Yorkers that coddling corporations is far more than important to him than cleaning up Albany. It’s one or the other-it can’t be both,” said Bill Samuels, Founder of EffectiveNY.
Although Cuomo has touted his campaign finance reform package in his last three State of the State addresses, he has refused to take action to implement small donor matching funds. In 2011 and 2012, he failed to introduce a single campaign finance reform bill. In 2013, he introduced a bill in the last month of session – a bill with no legislative supporters because, very conveniently for Cuomo, there was no time to recruit them.
In the last year, Cuomo has continued to exploit the state’s broken campaign finance system by encouraging more large-dollar corporate and real-estate donors to contribute to the Democratic State Committee, which has no limits on what its so-called “housekeeping account” can accept.
“It’s not a loophole—it’s the law,” Cuomo said in April 2013, offering a brazen defense of the status quo.
“His failure to act is stunning. It’s made people question his commitment to his own reform package. The reality of his 2014 re-election fundraising contradicts his rhetoric and undermines his credibility. One could be forgiven for thinking that Cuomo is a wholly owned subsidiary of corporations and real-estate developers who fund him,” Samuels said.
“The budget is really Governor Cuomo’s last chance to get this done,” said Jesse Laymon, Executive Director of EffectiveNY. “But if he doesn’t put small donor matching funds in the budget, Cuomo will have squandered his last chance for reform, and everyone will know he took full advantage of the huge corporate donation loopholes in our broken campaign finance system.”
In New York, the Governor has enormous power to get his priorities passed through the budget cycle – when the legislature must essentially make the choice between accepting the Governor’s proposals or shutting down the government. After April 1, however, legislation can easily stall in either chamber of the legislature—and often does.
“Does Cuomo really want to clean up Albany, and end the corruption, or does he prefer the dangerous and disturbing status quo that has allowed him to collect over $30 million in campaign contributions, and to accept money from over 900 corporate donors? Which is it?,” asked Samuels.