The Comptroller has pushed for his office to lead the way as a statewide test for public financing of campaigns since just after he took office in 2007, and the Assembly passed his plan in 2011. But he argues that numerous aspects of the 2014 structure — oversight by the much-maligned state Board of Elections, its use of the pool of unclaimed funds controlled by the Comptroller’s office, and the fact that the change is coming at this point in the four-year election cycle — make it easy for his to reject taking part. Numerous good-government groups have told him to stay away rather than risk legitimizing a bad outcome.
DiNapoli’s statement, which was released through his campaign committee:
“The pilot program for public financing of the Comptroller election is a poor excuse to avoid the real reforms New Yorkers deserve. At this point, I cannot participate in this pilot. I was always willing to have reform start with the Comptroller’s office, but I will not be a convenient sacrificial lamb. I hope that before the legislative session ends, there will be comprehensive campaign finance reform, as well as a reconsideration of the proposal I advanced, with realistic timeframes for successful implementation.”
Good government groups are backing DiNapoli on this, saying it's better for the comptroller to bow out rather than let a bad outcome ruin any future momentum for public financing of campaigns.
The Cuomo administration is attacking DiNapoli over the move, however:
"We are surprised that the Comptroller is opting out, as this was the Comptroller’s bill to begin with. If he has specific concerns, we will modify the proposal, unless, of course, he just doesn’t want to do public financing,” said Matt Wing.
If Cuomo is so upbeat on the proposal, he should modify the experiment to include his own race for re-election this year.
Sure it's the middle of an election cycle and sure Cuomo would have to give up his vast campaign warchest and sure the Board of Elections will probably make a mess of this the first time out - but hey, so what?
This is about "good government", right?
And who isn't more closely associated with "good government" than Sheriff Andy Cuomo?
Good for DiNapoli opting out.
If Cuomo gets shrill over it, DiNapoli can invite Sheriff Andy to "experiment" mid-cycle with a similar proposal for his own race.