Last week, philanthropists and government officials met with advocates for the overhaul of New York State campaign finance laws. The meeting, organized by the Piper Fund, featured remarks from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and State Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. Advocacy for State election campaign reform, along the lines of New York City’s public campaign financing law, is expected to reach a higher level in this year’s legislative session. But will it succeed?
In the meantime, New York City’s law continues its evolution. Last week, the City Council voted by an veto-proof margin of 47-1 to exempt member organizations and corporations from disclosing member-to-member communications regarding candidates and ballot issues as “independent expenditures.” This bill passed over the opposition of the NYC Campaign Finance Board, a reminder that the legislature often has the last word on the scope of the campaign finance laws to which its members – as candidates – are subject.