Common Cause/NY Statement on New Yorkers for Proven Leadership

For Immediate Release:


September 4, 2013

Susan Lerner, (212) 691-6421

Common Cause/NY Statement on New Yorkers for Proven Leadership

Lerner calls on all candidates to take the “People’s Pledge”

In response to news reports that billionaire industrialist David Koch and others have joined to form a new political action committee in support of Mayoral candidate Joe Lhota, Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY released the following statement:

“Joe Lhota has chosen to participate in the public financing system presumably because he values the voice of average New Yorkers above the din of special interests. The formation of New Yorkers for Proven Leadership, a political action committee (PAC) backed by the billionaire industrialist David Koch, runs contrary to that spirit of democracy, and threatens to undermine the direct and free exchange of ideas which is supposed to characterize the campaign process. The influx of spending from outside interests is an end run around the New York City campaign finance laws which are designed to keep candidates beholden to the people. Voters loose when big dollar donors flood the airways with commercials paid for by anonymous sounding PACs. Common Cause/NY calls on Mr. Lhota and the Deocratic front-runners Bill DeBlasio, Christine Quinn and Bill Thompson in the primary and potential general election, to take the People’s Pledge and restore primacy to the public interest over special interests.”


Last week, the Daily News featured an op-ed authored by Common Cause/NY, Big Bucks Damage Democracy, which stated:

“In the 2012 U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts, Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren entered into a voluntary “People’s Pledge” to curb outside spending. Every time a third party ran an advertisement on behalf of a candidate, that candidate would pay 50% of the cost of airing the ad to a charity of the other candidate’s choosing.

Only 9% of total spending in the race came from outside groups, and less than 40% of the advertising in it was negative, compared with 80% in races that didn’t have the pledge, according to research by Common Cause/MA. Moreover, the pledge amplified the significance of small donors (also known as ordinary citizens) while improving transparency in political advertising.”

Read the full op-ed here.

Read the Common Cause Massachusetts report here.