Running Out the Clock

Is the New York legislature dragging its feet on campaign finance reform as the legislative session draws to a close? Governor Spitzer and his Democratic allies have announced that reform is a priority, but Republican leaders don't feel the same way. Contentious debate between Republicans and Spitzer on capping campaign contributions and limiting the donation activities of limited liability corporations (LLCs) has both sides riled up -- compromise isn't likely.

Spitzer's agenda for this session includes new contribution limits, better disclosure and a ban on donations to candidates from LLCs. LLC giving, a loophole around extant limits, spiked in the recent round of elections. Spitzer has made clear that public financing of elections is his ultimate priority but in order for that to move forward in future sessions both sides are going to have to dial down the rhetoric and address the serious conflicts of interest present in New York's current system of election financing.