Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) Research & Government Relations Director Laura Renz will testified today at a New York State Senate Committee on Elections hearing.
The state Senate is considering several bills that would impose campaign finance restrictions ranging from contribution limits, taxpayer financing of campaigns and so-called pay-to-play curbs.
A bill supposedly designed to increase disclosure of corporate political spending following the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission would instead empower incumbents and other influential interests to pressure citizens and groups.
“Campaign finance laws should be designed to allow citizens to serve as a watchdog for their government, not to allow government and other activists to become modern day McCarthys,” Renz said.
CCP provided research to the committee on campaign finance issues, including data showing that contribution limits do not have an impact on political corruption. Utah and Virginia, for example, both have no limits on campaign contributions yet are well-governed. There is no correlation between a state’s corruption level as measured by the Department of Justice and its campaign finance restrictions.
“Overly complex and punitive campaign finance regulation discourages political participation and forces individuals, associations, and candidates to seek other ways of speaking out on important issues,” Renz wrote in prepared remarks. “At its core, campaign finance regulation should aim to be as simple as possible in order to encourage a plethora of voices, both in support of and critical of government and its policies.”