Public Financing of Elections Organizational Sign-On

Brennan Center for Justice, Citizen Action of New York,
Center for Working Families, Common Cause New York


December 13, 2010

Dear Governor-Elect Cuomo,

We write to strongly encourage your leadership in proposing and passing a government reform package that includes both ethics and a voluntary system of public campaign finance early in the 2011 legislative session.  Our groups strongly support your bold and common sense government reform agenda and we are ready and energized to work with you to pass that agenda in 2011.  As good government, civil rights, environmental, labor, community, health care, social justice, and issue advocacy organizations we are united in our desire for real reform.   We fully support passage of a system that ends candidate’s dependence on large, private campaign donations as a means to win legislative and statewide office in New York, and instead, allows candidates to qualify for public funds to run their campaigns.  

It will take someone in your position, with your vision for a stronger, more democratic and transparent New York to lead the effort to truly clean up state government and change the culture in Albany.  Like you, we all agree that in order to truly give Albany a “clean bill of health,” any reform package must include a system of public campaign finance as well as other campaign finance reforms including lower contribution limits, closing loopholes, and strong but fair enforcement.
For decades, our organizations have confronted a legislature fraught with corruption as we attempted to move our agendas through Albany.  We know the issues we care about would be better served if our elected officials were able to run for office using a system of public campaign finance, like New York City’s.  Such a system promotes transparency and accountability to the public.  It restores the public’s trust in government and encourages more participation in the electoral and legislative process. It encourages genuine debate around issues.  More participation, competition and equal opportunity in our elections system is beneficial to every New Yorker.

We have an opportunity to both create a more functional and productive legislature and promote New York State as a national leader in government reform. We hope you will continue to make reforming state government as your top priority.  But reform must be comprehensive to be effective.  Ethics with voluntary public financing of elections is the remedy Albany needs.


Brennan Center for Justice
Michael Waldman, Executive Director
Citizen Action of New York
Karen Scharff, Executive Director
Center for Working Families
Dave Palmer, Executive Director
Common Cause New York
Susan Lerner, Executive Director