New York State adopted public financing for state elections in 2020. Candidates and campaigns will be able to start using the system in 2024 if they so choose. Main highlights of the new program include:
- Significantly decreased contribution limits for all candidates
- Candidates for statewide office will see a 74% decrease in contribution limits.
- Candidates for State Senate will see a 48% decrease in contribution limits.
- Candidates for State Assembly will see a 36% decrease in contribution limits.
- Access to an opt-in small donor public matching funds program
- Candidates for statewide office will be eligible for a $6 – $1 match on eligible donations.
- Candidates for State Legislature will be eligible for a tiered match ranging from $12-$1 to $8-$1.
However, significant work needs to be done in order to strengthen the state’s existing campaign finance laws. That’s why Common Cause New York is working hard to pass S7874 (Biaggi)/A8371A (Steck) which would close a gap in our state’s laws relating to the disposition of campaign funds. This bill addresses the issue of what should be done with campaign funds raised by an elected official who has been convicted of a crime committed while in public office, or has been impeached or resigned while the subject of a criminal investigation or of an impeachment inquiry. Unfortunately, this issue has been raised too frequently by the resignation of a series of executive and legislative elected officials in recent years.
This bill provides a reasonable and balanced approach to a problematic situation. It prohibits spending money from an existing campaign account controlled by the resigned official for any political purpose. The campaign account must be closed and the funds distributed either pro rata to contributors or donated to charity within 2 years of resignation or conviction.