Recent polling shows huge majority of New Yorkers support public financing of elections to lessen influence of big money
This Friday, January 21, 2011, marks the one-year anniversary of the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court decision. The Citizens United decision allowed corporate special interests to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence our elections.
“Last year when the Supreme Court struck down 100 years of campaign finance law with it’s Citizens United decision, many feared the worst. And the 2010 elections showed that those fears were well placed,” said Karen Scharff, Executive Director of Citizen Action of New York.
“The unprecedented amount of secret outside spending by corporate e special interests made a bad system worse, leaving the public feeling even more removed from their democracy. Lawmakers in Albany have a chance to put New York voters back in charge and restore trust in government by enacting public financing of elections,” said Scharff.
Recent polling conducted by the Siena Research Institute showed that 70 percent of New Yorkers support public financing of elections. Governor Cuomo showed his support for changing the way elections are financed in his State of the State address and lawmakers in Albany should heed the call.
“The voters have spoken. It’s time for our leaders in Albany to lead on the issue that will restore our state government to one that is of, by, and for the people—not bought and paid for by wealthy special interests,” Scharff added.
Post-Citizen United spending in the 2010 elections:
- Nationwide, outside groups spent more than $480 million to influence the outcome of the midterm elections, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
- A report by the Washington Post and analysis from Public Campaign estimates that House and Senate candidates spent $2 billion in the 2010 election cycle, a 54 percent increase over 2008.
- A report by NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s office showed that Citizens United spending represented 15% of all political spending in the 2010 elections nationwide, and was responsible for $85 million spent in US Senate races.
- In New York, close to $246 million was raised in the 2010 elections, according to a recent report by NYPIRG, Common Cause, Citizens Union, and the League of Women Voters. Just 1/3 of the money raised was from individual donors.
- Only 59,350 residents of New York made donations to campaigns in 2010, just 0.3% of the population.
Citizen Action of New York, a statewide grassroots organization with over 20,000 members who fight for social, racial, economic, and environmental justice, has been the lead organization advocating for a system of public financing of elections in New York. Visit http://votersnotdonors.org for more information.