© 2023 WRVO Public Media
Your Source for NPR News
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Advocates say Cuomo missed chance to counteract Supreme Court ruling

The U.S. Supreme Court decision McCutcheon v. FEC, striking down some campaign donation limits is expected to have an effect in New York. Reform advocates say Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers missed a key chance this week to counter act the ruling.

Karen Scharff, with the Fair Elections Coalition, said the Supreme Court ruling means that anyone can now challenge New York’s current donation limits of $150,000 for individuals, and win their case. The only avenue left for an alternative to campaigns funded by wealthy donors, she said, is a voluntary publicly funded matching donor system.

She said state lawmakers, led by Cuomo, could have enacted a broad-based public campaign finance system as part of the budget, but in the end rejected the measure in favor of a plan limited to the state comptroller’s race.

“Unfortunately, Gov. Cuomo sided with the Supreme Court this week by choosing his CEO campaign contributors over voters,”  Scharff says.

Cuomo said the votes simply weren’t there in the state Senate to enact broader campaign finance reforms.  

Fair Elections is part of a group of progressive organizations that includes the Working Families Party, and Scharff said a “strong case” can be made for running a more left leaning candidate against Cuomo in the November elections.  But she said there’s no decision yet.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.