An agenda for curbing the corrupting influence of big money and amplifying the voices of New Yorkers

Eight years ago, Andrew Cuomo stood in front of Tweed Courthouse and launched his campaign with a promise to clean up Albany. Today, just a few feet from that spot, Cuomo’s associate Alain Kaloyeros is on trial for rigging contract bidding to benefit two large Cuomo donors.

Sadly, this is just one of many corruption scandals that have exposed the hypocrisy of the Governor’s promise eight years ago. Andrew Cuomo’s personal friend and former top aide, Joe Percoco, was convicted in March of accepting $300,000 in bribes. On July 17, reporters revealed that the FBI is investigating Crystal Run Healthcare for making a series of orchestrated campaign contributions to Cuomo and later receiving over $25 million in state grants. Additionally, the Central New York Film Hub, a $15 million project built by Cuomo donors who are now facing federal corruption charges, sold for $1 in May after it ultimately failed to produce the hundreds of jobs Cuomo promised.  Incredibly, this is only a summary of the corruption scandals the Cuomo administration has faced in the last four months.

The unchecked influence of big money in state politics is why our state government currently serves to benefit corporations and the rich, leaving the rest of us behind. It’s why Andrew Cuomo sells off state contract after state contract to the highest bidder to amass a massive war chest.  It’s why Andrew Cuomo won’t enact a millionaires tax to increase funding for our public schools. It’s why he doesn’t make fixing our subways a priority – his donors don’t use them.  It’s why the Governor can dissolve the Moreland Commission when it starts looking into his ethical violations, but countless people sit in jail for non-violent offenses because they can’t afford de minimis amounts of bail. It’s why there is a different set of rules for white, wealthy men on Wall Street than there are for poor, black men in communities of color.

In order for our elected officials in Albany to start thinking about what’s good for their voters, not what’s good for their donors, we have to fundamentally shift our system away from large donors towards a system that lifts up small donors. When candidates have to immediately start asking the wealthy for contributions, and the amount they can donate is essentially limitless, the culture of pay-to-play becomes inescapable. It’s time to get big money out of state politics and create a government accountable to the many, to the people.

Our state could be a place where every single New Yorker has what we need to thrive, if only we could stop our governor from selling New York off to the highest bidder.

To learn more about Cynthia’s agenda for curbing the corrupting influence of big money and amplifying the voices of everyday New Yorkers, click here.

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