As some good-government advocates appeal to Cuomo to keep his promises, others have given up on that
11:24 am Apr. 23, 2012
On April 11, The New York Times reported that a group called the "New York Leadership for Accountable Government" was cobbling together rich donors to push for public campaign financing, and targeting four Republican state senators with a barrage of mailers.
The article noted that the issue, and their advocacy, could be "sensitive" for Governor Andrew Cuomo, who ran on a platform that included public financing but hasn't done much about it, and in fact has done very well raising money for himself under the state's exisiting, extroardinarily permissive campaign-finance system. But the new group did not explicitly target him.
On April 15, Common Cause New York's executive Susan Lerner and CCNY board member Leo Hindery Jr. wrote an op-ed in Crain's urging, among other things, public campaign financing. Their strategy for getting passed in Albany hinged, apparently, on a direct appeal to Cuomo to spend some of his considerable political capital on the issue.
Lerner and Hindrey wrote, "Cuomo has made statewide finance reform a priority, so let's act now."
On Friday, Bill Samuels, a reform activist and former head of the New York State Democrats' campaign fund-raising efforts, threw cold water on both of those ideas.
Referring to Cuomo's broken promises on redistricting reform—another good-government issue the governor campaigned on—Samuels told NY1, "I do not believe public financing will get passed this year. Therefore, to say it's part of the governor's priority when we know for a fact that it will be treated like independent redistricting was, about a bunch of press releases but no action."
As for mailers and campaigning against opponents of campaign-finance reform, Samuels' group, EffectiveNewYork.org, won't do it.
He said he has no plans "to target financially, whether it be [State Senator Jack] Martins or [State Senator Greg] Ball or someone within our own party." Samuel's group, EffectivceNewYork.org wants "to show that Republicans and Democrats can work together on reform."
Their strategy will be on educating the public on the issue, telling NY1, "I am going to focus my efforts there versus picking one or the other because frankly, it hasn't made that big a difference."