(New York City) — Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Governor, called today for full public campaign financing as a critical measure to create democracy and fight corruption in New York State.
"I am all for fair elections and full public campaign finance," said Hawkins. "But, unfortunately, the Fair Elections bill would not achieve full public campaign financing."
Hawkins said that he would also prohibit individuals and companies doing business with the state (including lobbyists) from making campaign contributions, and would restrict the ability of state lawmakers to earn income from outside employment.
Hawkins has voluntarily imposed a $2,600 limit on contributions to his campaign (the federal limit) and takes no funds from corporations or their PACs.
"New York's government has long been for sale to the highest bidder. No politician has more embraced the 'pay to play' approach than Cuomo, who has raised half of his $44 million war chest from 331 donors who gave him $40,000 or more. People who donate huge amounts of money are buying access and favors," said Hawkins.
The Clean Money Elections bill (A4116-2013, S4501-2013), which Hawkins fully supports, sets up a system of full public campaign financing like Arizona and Maine have. Candidates would qualify for public funds by obtaining a certain number of $5 donations. The candidates would either opt in to running entirely with an equal state grant of Clean Money or opt out to run on private donations from special interests or self-financed (e.g., Bloomberg, Spitzer). "That would level the field for Clean Money candidates and expose the "Dirty Money” candidates," Hawkins said.
Hawkins said the partial funding system in the Fair Elections bill promoted by the Governor and some groups provide a limited amount of public matching funds while permitting unlimited private financing.
"I support the goal but not the solutions of the matching fund proposal promoted by some good government groups in the Fair Elections bill. But you don't promote nuclear disarmament by providing more nuclear weapons to more countries. The real problem is allowing the wealthy elite to buy elections and politicians, and that is what we need to end, not just giving more money to more candidates," said Hawkins.
"I support the national movement to amend the U.S. Constitution to make clear that the people have to right to curb the power of campaign donations, special interests and corporations," said Hawkins.
"There are a host of incremental reforms that I would support, including lowering contributions limits, curbing party housekeeping accounts, and closing the LLC loophole. I would likely sign any fair elections bill sent to my desk, depending upon the details. But advocates routinely applaud some new set of historic ethics reforms the Governor signs into law that no one can even remember the following year, as they have no real impact. We need real solutions, not window dressing," added Hawkins.