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Zephyr Teachout on Government Reform

 

 


Build political system where wealthy donors aren't in charge

Reforming campaign finance laws would be her first priority in office, Teachout said: "We need to make sure we build a political system where wealthy donors aren't in charge."

Catering to wealthy donors is exactly what the Cuomo administration is guilty of, said Teachout, who thinks that Cuomo's "inconsistent" combination of progressive social policy and trickle-down economics is due to the sway of his donors.

"The only way to make sense of some of his policies--tax breaks for big banks that aren't going anywhere--is to look at his donors," she said, adding that Cuomo's support for public financing of elections is "his favorite broken promise."

Teachout said she sees general political culture as the dog that wags the tail of individual cases of corruption, which is why for her campaign finance reform is paramount. She testified before the anti-corruption Moreland Commission, "Historically, culture-changing rules have proven to be more powerful at eliminating corruption."

Source: Epoch Times on 2014 New York State Governor's race , Jul 8, 2014

Public financing for all statewide and legislative elections

The way to fix the broken system is to provide public financing for all statewide and legislative elections. I will model my approach on the New York City system that provides $6 matching funds for every $1 contributed in small donations. Under this system every $50 donation would then be worth $350, because of the state "match." Think about the effect of that: right now, a politician's job is to spend 30% of her time talking to the 1%, the people who can donate more than $500. By contrast, when matching funds enables 20 working people to collectively donate $7000, every community group becomes worth listening to. I would also use this policy to lower contribution limits, close loopholes, and provide effective administration and enforcement of these rules.

Governor Cuomo has promised many times to enact public financing of elections. It is, sadly, the Governor's favorite promise to break.

Source: 2014 N. Y. Governor campaign website, ZephyrTeachout.com , Jul 2, 2014

Political system is still corrupt and rigged for the wealthy

Teachout formally launched her Democratic primary campaign by attacking Cuomo as the benefactor and protector of a corrupt political system that favors only the wealthy and most powerful segments of society.

"Four years ago, Andrew Cuomo stood on the steps of a courthouse named after Boss Tweed and promised to clean up corruption in New York State," Teachout said. "But he, as Governor Cuomo, has become the problem that candidate Cuomo promised to fix. The political system is still corrupt and rigged and Andrew Cuomo is not only part of the broken system, he has made it worse."

Teachout repeatedly portrayed Cuomo as a politician who has failed to address the state's "equality crisis" and one who acted only to further his own political interests and those of his financial donors. "He has never done anything that would irritate his wealthy donors," Teachout said. "What I see is somebody who serves himself and his donors. And that is the most basic Democratic crime in a sense."

Source: Daily News on 2014 New York State gubernatorial race , Jun 16, 2014

2017-18 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Government Reform: Zephyr Teachout on other issues:
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