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In the Nation's Interest

CED Supports NY LEAD Campaign Finance Reform Effort

Washington, D.C. – The Committee for Economic Development (CED), a business-led policy group, today confirmed its support for campaign finance reform legislation championed by NY LEAD, a coalition of business, academic, and philanthropic leaders advocating for new campaign finance laws for New York state.

CED and NY LEAD believe that a multiple dollar public match on low-dollar donations can have a substantial leveraging effect that would provide candidates with a strong incentive to seek out large numbers of small donations. At the same time, it would give small donors a greater sense of empowerment that would encourage them to become more involved in the financing of political campaigns. This reform mirrors CED's policy recommendations made in 1999 and recently restated in our most recent report, After Citizens United: Improving Accountability in Political Finance.

"Competitive elections are vital to the health of our political system and our democracy. Regardless of your party affiliation, competitive elections are needed to make sure government leaders are held accountable and that pay-to-play politics doesn't control the people's legislature. Many business leaders know this and are increasingly concerned about what is becoming a shakedown for contributions. NY LEAD's approach of small-dollar contributions matched by public funding offers a way to reform the current system and to avoid the scandal and embarrassment that will no doubt occur absent reform," stated Charles Kolb, President of CED.

Since the late 1990s, CED has sought to reform campaign financing by opposing large unreported campaign donations from companies. The current system diverts resources from economic development, diminish the capacity of institutions to take the actions needed to address the nation's most pressing problems, undermine the rule of law, and diminish public confidence in government and corporate America. CED was instrumental in the passage of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) in 2002, and has been at the forefront of efforts by business leaders to advance proposals to improve the health of our democracy. CED continues to work to advance initiatives and policy solutions to address the problems generated by the role of money in our political process.

On April 18, 2012, CED and the Brennan Center for Justice, hosted a dinner forum on reforming New York State campaign laws. Dinner speakers included Sean Eldridge President, Hudson River Ventures; Charles Kolb, CED President; Jane Sherburne, Senior Executive Vice President of BNY Mellon; and Michael Waldman, President of the Brennan Center for Justice.