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Cuomo proposes a crackdown on super PACs

Posted by Karen DeWitt on

Governor Cuomo is proposing a crack down on the coordination of candidates for office and super PACs  that are created to support their campaigns.

The super PACs, or independent expenditures, are permitted under the US Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Cuomo says while we can’t overturn the ruling right away without changes to the court, New York can act to make sure that super PACs really are independent, which he says have “become a mockery” and are used as a back door way around the state’s contribution limits.

“You have court decisions that have changed politics as we know it,” Cuomo said. “And literally have made the system all about money.”

Under the bill, the super PACs  would have to disclose exactly who controls them, and reveal if anyone involved is a former staffer or even family member of the candidate. Major donors who give to both the candidate and a related super PAC would be scrutinized, as well as the sharing of office space  or PR consultants.

Cuomo’s top counsel also issued a memo that clarifies what is allowed under existing state law, and urges regulators to abide by the legal opinion.

The proposals were praised by many reform groups, though they say much more needs to be done to curb state government’s rampant corruption. It also received a positive response from Republicans who rule the State Senate. Senate Leader John Flanagan says he’s open to talking about adding the ideas to a reform package , saying the super PACs “cannot be fronts for coordinated efforts of candidates”. Assembly Democrats say they’ve already passed similar measures, and support Cuomo’s efforts. 

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