Senate GOP Hearings Will Examine NYC's Public Campaign Financing System

May 3, 2013

Republicans in the State Senate plan to hold hearings next Tuesday, May 7th, on what they say are abuses in New York City’s public campaign finance system.  

The Senate GOP is against a proposal by Governor Cuomo and other Democrats to expand public campaign financing to statewide races. Republicans will hold a hearing that they say will examine “the abuses within New York City's taxpayer funded political campaign system and the implications for state taxpayers if the system were to be expanded statewide”.

GOP Leader Dean Skelos says the public doesn’t want to pay for the political campaigns, which he says would only plague New Yorkers with more “robocalls”.  He says he’d rather see the money used to restore cuts to the developmentally disabled in the state budget, or increase aid to schools.

“I think that money could be better spent,” Skelos said.

Skelos believes public campaign financing could cost $200 million dollars a year.  Supporters say the cost is closer to $25 to $50 million dollars.

Meanwhile, a group of independent Democrats who run the Senate along with the GOP, are holding their own series of hearings. They are promoting the public financing of campaigns.  The two factions will need to ultimately decide whether a bill to publicly fund state political races goes forward, or not.

In a statement Friday afternoon, Senator Skelos offered a pre view of what the GOP hearings might include. In response to the conviction of an  aide to New York City Comptroller John Liu on  fraud charges  related to campaign donations, Skelos said it’s “the latest example of abuse in the City’s public matching fund system”.