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New York Comptroller: Finance Plan "Seriously Flawed"

Karen DeWitt

New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says a test public campaign finance plan that would apply only to his office is “seriously flawed,” and might even be unworkable.

The budget provision, which first surfaced late Friday, would enact a pilot public campaign finance program limited to the comptroller’s office. DiNapoli, a long time supporter of public finance, says this plan comes too late in the election cycle, and relies on the State Board of Elections, a board widely viewed as incompetent, to set up the program.   

“It seems to have some obvious and serious flaws as to whether it’s even workable,” DiNapoli said.

The plan would use the comptroller’s own unclaimed funds as a source to fund the campaigns, and require the comptroller to sign off on spending the money, something DiNapoli says is clearly a conflict of interest.

Government reform groups agree with DiNapoli, and are urging the comptroller to opt out

“It’s designed to fail,” says NYPIRG’s Blair Horner. “There’s no two ways about it.”

The comptroller says he’s taking their advice under consideration, but wants to give the plan a “thoughtful analysis” first.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of public radio stations in New York state. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.
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