Common Cause/NY Responds to Carrion Spokesman on NYC Matching Funds

NEW YORK, NY (11/14/2012)(readMedia)-- Responding to a claim from Adolfo Carrion's spokesman as reported in the Daily News:

"Adolfo is not taking matching funds [for a potential run] given the city's urgent needs for rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy, rebuilding its infrastructure, given that school lunch prices are going up... Adolfo thinks its atrocious that candidates for citywide office would siphon taxpayer money away from taxpayer needs."

Common Cause/NY Executive Director, Susan Lerner, released the following statement:

New York City's campaign matching fund system is about maximizing the willing participation of average voters. If Mr. Carrion decides to allow big special interests to fund any campaign he runs instead of the voters, pretending that doing so will somehow benefit New Yorkers is both an insult to democracy and a brutish attempt to score political points off of a natural disaster.

The matching fund system, in which Mr. Carrion has himself participated, has played a crucial role in diversifying government by making candidates of color, from middle or low income communities, competitive against entrenched interests. It is in large part thanks to the matching fund system that there has been an increase in competitive primaries, helping to make the New York City Council a majority minority body.

Moreover, in 2009 citywide candidates received $15 million in matching funds; a sliver of the City's $66 billion budget, and the $30 billion that Governor Cuomo is seeking in federal aid for Sandy.

By Mr. Carrion's misplaced logic, the 2013 campaigns should be financed primarily by high income individuals, leaving average voters out in the cold, and making candidates beholden to big dollar donors. That's no bargain for the voters.


Common Cause/NY is part of the coalition for Fair Election in New York State. The campaign for Fair Elections is focused on four key goals, enumerated by Governor Cuomo in his State of the State Address:

  1. Public Financing of Elections – establishing a voluntary system to empower small donors by matching their contributions with public money, similar to NYC's successful system.
  2. Lower Contribution Limits – bringing New York State's sky-high contribution limits down to reasonable levels.
  3. Ending Pay-to-Play – saving public dollars by preventing contributions and bundling by contractors and lobbyists from influencing decisions about state business.
  4. Stronger Enforcement and Transparency – ensuring that our laws are enforced in a fair, effective and timely manner, and that public matching funds are appropriately disbursed.