A New York state lawmaker from the Hudson Valley has introduced legislation calling for the public financing of elections of state Supreme Court judges and district attorneys.
Democratic state Assemblyman Tom Abinanti of Westchester County says it is unseemly for judges and district attorneys to run for office with their campaigns funded by lawyers and litigants on whose cases they are about to rule. Abinanti’s bill would provide a public match of $6 for each $1 of qualified campaign contribution up to $175 per contributor. The matching funds would come from monies in the state’s abandoned property fund. Abinanti says the “matching contribution” structure not only would reduce pressure on judicial and district attorney campaigns to raise money but likely would expand the pool of candidates. So far, there is no companion bill in the Senate.