Advocates for reforming the state’s campaign finance laws are pressuring the Senate Independent Democratic Conference to act before the legislative session ends June 20.
In a full-page advertisement in The Journal News on Monday, an array of public campaign finance supporters said the IDC’s coalition with Republicans will be remembered for “obstructing good legislation and enabling partisan gridlock” if a reform package isn’t put to a vote.
“It is wrong to give any conference or legislative leader the power to protect the status quo and prevent voting on an essential reform,” reads the letter, which was funded by the Brennan Center for Justice, a good-government group. “This is particularly so during a period of record corruption, when reform has the support of a majority of officeholders and the public.”
The letter was signed by various groups pushing for the creation of a publicly funded option for financing campaigns, similar to the one used in New York City. In the city, small donations are matched at a 6-to-1 rate if a candidate opts to use the system.
The advertisement also ran in Monday’s Staten Island Advance. The choice of publications wasn’t coincidence; Two members of the four-member IDC — Leader Jeff Klein, D-Bronx, and Sen. David Carlucci, D-Clarkstown — serve districts within The Journal News’ coverage area, while Sen. Diane Savino represents part of Staten Island.
The IDC is part of the Senate Majority Coalition with the Republicans in the chamber. Both Klein and Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos, R-Nassau County, have to agree to bring a bill to the floor for a vote. Klein supports a public finance option; Skelos does not.
Among those who signed on to the letter were Hazel Dukes, president of the state chapter of the NAACP; former U.S. senator and NBA great Bill Bradley; and Cynthia DiBartolo, chairwoman of the Greater New York City Chamber of Commerce.
Here’s the advertisement: