NEW YORK—New York business leaders believe the state's current campaign finance rules benefit major donors at the cost of ordinary citizens– and overwhelmingly want the system reformed, according to a first-of-its-kind survey. Today in Manhattan, the Committee for Economic Development (CED) released results of a Zogby Analytics poll of 300 New York State business leaders. Poll results show that New York business leaders broadly support state campaign finance reform:
The findings add a new facet to the campaign to persuade New York legislators to fix the state's controversial campaign finance system.
"I work with businesses of all sizes on Long Island, and these poll results do not surprise me," said David L. Calone, CEO of Jove Equity Partners. "Our leaders in Albany should be assured that if they take up campaign finance reform in a meaningful way, businesses across the state will be there to support them." Calone is also a member of New York Leadership for Accountable Government (NY LEAD), a group of 95 business and civic leaders who support broad campaign finance reforms.
The poll found overwhelming disapproval among business leaders for New York's current campaign finance laws, which allow individuals to contribute up to $60,800 to an elected official. Among the survey's findings:
The Zogby poll also found that business leaders support the central principles of a small donor matching system, similar to that in use in New York City for more than two decades:
"Special business interests make political donations for one purpose- to influence governments to do their bidding," said Jonathan F. P. Rose, President of Jonathan Rose Companies and member of NY LEAD. "Without campaign finance reform, democracy is at risk."
"Business leaders in the state are ready to support thoughtful reforms to our campaign finance system," said Jane Sherburne, BNY Mellon General Counsel and member of NY LEAD. "The new poll demonstrates that they will stand behind legislators who are willing to take serious steps towards making our elections more transparent, fair and competitive."
On the influence of money in politics in Albany, the poll found that business leaders' views are almost identical to those of the public: "There's broad agreement between business leaders and the general public. Everyone wants meaningful reforms. Albany needs to implement small donor matching, reduce contribution limits, increase transparency, put in place fair and nonpartisan enforcement of the rules, and close loopholes," said Kelly Williams, an attorney at the Brennan Center for Justice.
"Business leaders are concerned about the effect of current fundraising practices because they believe the system as it exists does not serve the public's best interest or the interests of the business community," said Mike Petro, Acting President of CED. "Ultimately, it's about competition and thoughtful business leaders recognize that innovation in business and progress on job creation does not come from pursuing short-term gains in a pay-to-play culture, but through competition and innovation in an open marketplace."
October 25, 2012