A group of mostly wealthy New Yorkers will team up with Gov. Andrew Cuomo to make a revamped push for reforming New York’s campaign-finance system.
Protect Our Democracy — a new non-profit advocacy group — and its related political action conference has tapped Steve Cohen, Cuomo’s former top aide, to help coordinate the effort, which will make the case for a publicly funded system for funding state-level campaigns.
The effort appears to have grown out of a coalition that launched earlier this year — Fair Elections for New York, which like Protect Our Democracy includes Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes and his fiancee, Sean Eldridge.
“There has never been a more urgent or attainable moment for campaign finance reform,” Cohen said in a statement. “Governor Cuomo has spoken out strongly about the need for reform, and Sean and the team at Protect Our Democracy will add much-needed momentum to the push for reform in Albany.”
Specifically, the effort will focus on New York City’s campaign-finance system, making the case for using it as a model for a statewide reform. The city system matches small contributions at a 6-1 rate, with the idea of putting more of an emphasis on small donors and taking influence out of wealthy political players.
The new effort was first reported by The New York Times.
Cuomo called for a revamped campaign-finance system in his second State of the State address in January, but it never took hold during this year’s legislative session after Republicans in the state Senate spoke out against a public system.