NYC Campaign Finance Board Study Shows Fair Elections Works

In their Spring newsletter, the New York City Campaign Finance Board announced their own study about the impact that a publicly financed Fair Elections system can have on the size of contributions made in elections.

Their study showed that across the city, City Council candidates were more likely to get small donations (under $250) than State Senate or Assembly candidates running in the same area.

They note exactly why this is so important:

The emphasis on low-dollar, local contributions through the matching funds program clearly results in more participation in City Council elections. Residents contribute to City Council candidates in far higher numbers across teh city, including neighborhoos where residents barely give to state legislative candidates at all…

More small donor participation means more civic engagement. More civic engagement means a stronger democracy.

It means that the voices of the people can be heard by those who are elected to serve them.

Fair Elections won’t get big money out of politics. But it’ll make it matter a lot less. And in a world where Scott Walker can outspend his opponent many times over after being funded by CEO campaign contributors, making that money matter less will mean a lot.

Full Disclosure Spring 2012

  • Robert Banov
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  • Dan Jacoby

    This study is fatally flawed, for two reasons.

    The first flaw is that it fails to demonstrate that the higher number of so-called “small” donations actually makes a difference in who gets elected or how — or what they do after the election. Indeed, evidence shows that NYC Council members are just as corrupt as their state legislature counterparts.

    The second flaw is that the study defines a $250 contribution as “small.” 98% of NYC residents don’t contribute to political campaigns, because to them a $250 contribution (or even a $175 contribution) is, in their real-world minds, “large” and not “small.”

    The fact is that the NYC campaign matching funds system is a colossal waste of taxpayer money. There are better solutions, ones that CANY had been pushing in the past. Unfortunately, you have dumped a workable solution in favor of a waste.

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