Campaign-Finance Futility

The Story

Mayor de Blasio has created a Charter Revision Commission to come up with proposed changes to the city’s constitution, to be voted on in the election this November. One key proposal is to expand the city’s campaign-financing system, with new limits placed on contributions. Advocates say the change will increase public involvement in electoral politics while also reducing corruption — but if history is any guide, campaign-finance reform will accomplish neither goal.


The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Turnout: New York City is the national model for public financing of campaigns, but voter turnout is historically low and keeps getting lower. Read more.

  2. Scandal: The city’s political corruption scandals involved payoffs and fundraising that took place outside the parameters of the campaign-finance law. Read more.

  3. Insiders: Public campaign financing, intended to make it easier for “outsiders” to enter politics, has not altered the rate at which incumbents get reelected or win new offices. Read more.

“No evidence supports advocates’ claims that public financing strengthens democracy.”

Stephen Eide, Manhattan Institute senior fellow

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

“Campaign finance reform is creating an intrusive regulatory regime that’s steadily eroding Americans’ political freedoms.”

And in other news...

“New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday directed the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation to promote regulations to phase out the use of climate change pollutants called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).”