Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York's legislative leaders apparently have decided that April Fools is the perfect day for a not-at-all-funny prank on Empire State voters.
After months extolling the virtues of a "Fair Elections" public financing plan for New York's scandal-plagued elections, and even including money for it in his annual budget proposal, Cuomo cut a deal with top lawmakers that limits public financing to a single race -- for state comptroller.
And the incumbent in the comptroller's race, Democrat Tom DiNapoli, already has built a fat campaign treasury and may end up essentially unopposed.
The New York Fair Elections plan would have used state funds to match small dollar donations -- up to $175 -- to Cuomo and other candidates in November's state elections. The plan would have provided $6 for every $1 donated, so a $100 gift would be worth $700 to a candidate, enough to push candidates to pay more attention to small dollar givers rather than high rollers.
Limiting the program to the comptroller's race is "insulting" to voters, Common Cause/NY Executive Director Susan Lerner observed in a Tuesday morning interview on WNYC Radio. "This is not a workable system," she said. Cuomo and company "are trying frankly -- I believe -- to fool people that something is being done when nothing is being done."
Maybe just as bad, the governor and the lawmakers agreed to shut down the Moreland Commission, an investigative panel that was making headway in uprooting corruption in state government.
"This is not a good place for the governor to be," Lerner asserted. Cuomo "hasn't really done anything to address corruption."
Office: Common Cause National
Issues: Money in Politics
Tags: Citizens United