As liberals rejoiced over the parts of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address that promised tougher gun laws and campaign finance reform, the State Senate’s Republican Leader Dean Skelos released a video hinting at a legislative battle to come when he said he would not support the public financing of campaigns.
“I do not support taxpayer dollars to fund political campaigns,” Mr. Skelos said after explaining that Republicans did back increasing “transparency” and “accountability” in the campaign process. “If the public campaign finance system in New York City was applied statewide and to legislative campaigns, it would cost taxpayers more than 200 million dollars. That’s money that would be much better spent on property tax relief or investing more money in rural upstate school districts and underperforming school districts around the state.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo has made it absolutely clear that the new Senate leadership coalition between the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference and and the Republicans will draw his ire if they do not support certain items on his agenda. Yesterday, we noted that it seemed the IDC and the governor might not be seeing eye-to-eye on one of the item on the governor’s “litmus test” for the coalition, campaign finance reform. Last night, we received a call from one of the five IDC members, State Senator Diane Savino, seeking to clarify the conference’s position on the issue. She also discussed the IDC’s goal, the racial controversies that have dogged the group and revealed the one person she’s not sure she’d allow to join the conference.
Common Cause New York and the New York Society for Ethical Culture are teaming up to co-host a panel discussion among religious leaders on campaign finance reform next week, and one of the names headlining the event is a notable one indeed: Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. Imam Rauf, named one of Time Magazine‘s 100 most influential people in the world, is perhaps best known as being a key figure behind the controversial Cordoba Initiative, which opponents labeled the “Ground Zero Mosque.”
According to an announcement email for the forum, the event “will focus on a wide variety of religious perspectives, and seek to address the moral context of campaign finance reform.”