Yesterday, a large group of New York business and civic leaders, top executives at Fortune 500 companies, and former members of Congress announced their strong support for comprehensive campaign finance reform: Fair Elections.

This is a significant development in the campaign to win public funding of elections for New York State elected offices. Community organizations like Citizen Action and many other good government groups have been advocating for public financing for years. Two weeks ago, a group of 118 organizations sent a letter to Governor Cuomo supporting his advocacy of Fair Elections in his State of the State address.

But, never before has an organized group of prominent individuals with influence and connections come out in support. This, paired with Governor Cuomo’s strong support, the Assembly’s historic support (they’ve been passing public financing bills for decades), and 74% of the public, means we have the building blocks of a campaign to make Fair Elections into New York State law this year.

Click to visit NYLead’s website. And their Twitter. And their Facebook.

In response to the announcement of NYLead, our Executive Director, Karen Scharff, had this to say:

Today’s announcement that a new group of business and civic leaders has joined together to advocate in support of Fair Elections is a testament to the vast support for this issue, amplifying Siena’s recent poll showing overwhelming support among all New Yorkers.

This influential body of leaders in New York business, government, and civic life shows the breadth and depth of the support for an end to Albany’s pay-to-play culture. It’s an indication that Fair Elections has the support to be enacted this year in New York.

Sean posted a bunch of photos from the press conference launch over at our Facebook page.

And below, I’ve compiled all the press coverage I could find about the launch.

We’ll be launching the main website for the campaign within the next few days, so stay tuned for that.

Press coverage from NYLead launch – Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New York Times Editorial. New York Waits for Campaign Finance Reform

New York Times – City Room Blog (Thomas Kaplan). Wealthy Donors Join Effort to Improve Campaign Finance System

Capital Tonight – YNN (Nick Reisman). Well-Heeled Group Pushes For Leveling Campaign-Finance Field

YNN Capital Region (Nick Reisman). Campaign finance reform

Times Union – Capitol Confidential (Jimmy Vielkind). Rich people for campaign finance reform

Gannett – Various Blogs (Jon Campbell). Group forms to aid campaign-finance reform push

NPR – WNYC’s Empire Blog (Karen Dewitt). New group, led by old political hands, backs Cuomo on campaign finance reform

AP – Printed in Wall Street Journal. New group seeks public financing of NY campaigns

CBS 6 WRGB. New group seeks public financing of NY campaigns

Fox 23 Albany. Group fights for campaign finance reform

WTEN ABC 10 Albany. New group seeks public financing of NY campaigns

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