Friday, January 21, 2011

National Reform Groups Announce Significant Support for Public Financing of Elections in New York...

Groups Including NOW, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Rock the Vote and People for the American Way Agree, 2011 is The Time to Reform Elections in NY

Exactly One Year After Citizens United, Momentum Growing to Limit Influence of Lobbyists, Special Interests

On the one year anniversary of the Citizens United decision, more than a dozen national reform groups, including the National Organization of Women (NOW), Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Rock the Vote and People for the American Way, announced in a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo that they were not only endorsing public financing of campaigns in New York, but will be actively providing significant support to pass the much needed reform to New York’s outdated campaign finance laws. The letter from the prominent national groups adds to the growing momentum for public financing in New York.

“For years, states have served as a laboratory for restoring our government to one that is of, by, and for the people. Passing a Fair Elections system in New York would not only be good for New Yorkers, but would create momentum at the state and federal level to pass legislation that would put elections back in the hands of voters,” said Nick Nyhart, co-founder and CEO of Public Campaign.

“With the record breaking and anonymous spending in the mid-term elections, special interests' grip on Washington is tightening and further drowning out the voices of average Americans. We need to change the way we pay for our political campaigns so elected officials work for we the people, not the special interests who paid for their campaigns," said Bob Edgar, president of Common Cause.

The full list of signers of the letter to Governor Cuomo are:

o National Organization for Women
o Rock the Vote
o Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)
o People For the American Way
o Alliance for Justice
o Americans for Campaign Reform
o Brennan Center for Justice
o Common Cause
o Democracy 21
o Democracy Matters
o 9to5, National Association of Working Women
o Public Campaign
o Public Citizen

A public funding system with small donor matching funds similar to New York City’s will dramatically reduce candidates’ dependence on special interest donors and lobbyists’ political contributions. Public funding would also begin to reduce the public’s cynicism about elected officials since the public will know they are only accountable primarily to the voters- and not to special interests and donors. With public funding, elections are not just about raising money, but more about a candidate's ability and policy positions.

The full letter is below: