It has not been a good week for democracy. On Monday, Governor Cuomo and Senate leaders decided to pass on the historic moment created this budget session to enact comprehensive campaign finance reform. While enforcement was slightly enhanced and disclosure of independent expenditures improved, the final reform package in the budget fell woefully short of what is needed to ensure a fair, functioning, and uncorrupt government working on behalf of all New Yorkers. See LWVNY’s statement on the reform package here.
The failure of New York’s leaders to act was made even worse yesterday when the U.S. Supreme court decided that aggregate contribution limits (what an individual can give in total to candidates, political action committees, and political parties) in federal races is unconstitutional (see reactions from our good government colleagues here). And so the flood gates of big money in government widened even further. Governor Cuomo and the Senate Co-Leader Klein have claimed that they are working to pass more reform later this session. Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision makes it all the more dire that they match their actions with their words.