Money Talks: State-Funded Campaign Finance System

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli made the right move when he declined to act as a guinea pig for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s state-funded campaign finance system.

It’s not that DiNapoli doesn’t believe in state-funded campaign financing. The comptroller has been an advocate for reform for years.

“At this point, I cannot participate in this pilot,” he said. “I was always willing to have reform start with the comptroller’s office, but I will not be a convenient sacrificial lamb.”

As part of this year’s state budget, the state Legislature approved a pilot program in which the state would provide six-to-one matches for individual gifts of up to $175. Candidates would be required to generate at least $200,000 in donations, made up of at least 2,000 donations of between $10 and $75 from state residents to qualify. Lastly, the program would cap individual donations at $6,000.

We remain skeptical a good state-funded political campaign finance system will end corruption and dirty politics in Albany. We remain steadfast the likely ineffectiveness of a good plan makes it a waste of your tax dollars. The cockamamie plan crammed into the state budget is far from a good plan. There is no independent oversight board and no limits on spending by political parties on behalf of candidates.

If any politician should be the guinea pig for this “plan,” it is Cuomo. He does, after all, have $33 million in his campaign bank account. Of course, Cuomo wouldn’t be able to use all of that $33 million if he were to participate in the campaign finance plan to which he has signed his name.

As the old saying goes, money talks.