Campaign Finance and Ethics Reform

NKD supports government that is accountable, representative, and responsive. We aim to open up government for those who have been historically underrepresented and disenfranchised. We believe the best campaigns are those that engage and empower small donors. To achieve these goals, NKD endorses the following campaign finance and ethics reforms.

Campaign Finance: The influence of money in politics should be reduced and democratized. Therefore,

1. Contribution limits should be dramatically reduced, including those from candidates themselves.

2. Entities that do business with the state should be subject to lower contribution limits.

3. New York should finally close the “LLC loophole,” which allows LLCs or corporations to donate as individuals. We should also close the loophole that allows for unlimited contributions to party funds, also known as “housekeeping” accounts which often goes to funding campaign activities.

4. The state should establish a system of public financing which enhances the impact of small contributions, such as a matching funds or clean elections program, alleviating candidates from having to raise exorbitant amounts of money.

5. Campaign finance regulations should be accessible and not a barrier to those unfamiliar to the law, and there should be robust resources available to candidates on the procedural and legal requirements of running for office.

Ethics Reform: New York State’s government consistently ranks among one of the most corrupt in the country. Therefore,

1. New York should adopt rigorous disclosure requirements for public officials and their immediate family members, including the disclosure of outside employment income and clients.

2 Lobbyists should be subject to stricter disclosure requirements and regulation, and any consultant performing a role similar to a lobbyist should be subject to the same rules.

3. The state should clearly delineate what expenses constitute legitimate campaign use, and reasonably regulate “personal use” of campaign funds.

4. Officials who are convicted of crimes related to the performance of their duties should not receive state pensions.

As new research and policy analysis becomes available, NKD may update or revise our position as needed.