Thursday, September 28, 2023

'Damaging' changes proposed to N.Y. campaign finance rules - Times Union

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ALBANY — Democrats in the state Legislature are poised to roll back a key provision to new rules that allow for the public financing of elections.

The changes under consideration in the final days of the legislative session undercut what good government groups see as a fundamental element: bringing everyday New Yorkers into a more competitive financial balance with their relatively wealthy counterparts who may have a greater ability to influence the outcome of an election.

“Why waste public money on big donors?” said Blair Horner, executive director of the New York Public Interest Research Group, a good government group that has long pushed for public financing of state elections.

Election officials have been training campaigns and political parties that small contributions, up to $250, would be eligible for matching public funds.

Under the proposed changes, the first $250 of any contribution, no matter how large, would be eligible for matching funds.

The proposal also would decrease from $175,000 to $145,000 the amount of matching funds that a candidate for Assembly could receive.

Changes are also proposed to thresholds that are needed to be met to qualify for matching contributions. Candidates for Assembly need to receive at least $10,000 from 145 district donors, down from $6,000 from 75 donors in their district; candidates for state Senate need at least 350 donors from their district contributing at least...

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