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What’s the purpose of the public financing commission?

Is the public financing commission about public financing? Or is it about fusion voting?

What was supposed to be a commission to establish public financing for elections in New York state has instead become a boogeyman for third parties, who claim it will eliminate fusion voting, a system that allows candidates to run on multiple party lines. Eliminating fusion could be dangerous for groups like the Working Families Party, who appear to view the ballot line as proof of their legitimacy. When the commission had its first public meeting in August, advocates held a rally outside where half the speeches dwelled just as much on fusion as they did on fair elections.

Governor Cuomo has suggested that fusion voting may complicate public financing because candidates can run on two party lines, which could mean that they’ll receive matching funds twice, or something. This ignores the factthat public financing and fusion voting have co-existed in New York City for three decades without any problems.

Skeptics claim that the Governor (and Assembly’s) real aim is to destroy the Working Families Party, particularly after the WFP declined to endorse Cuomo in 2018 and helped run the IDC out of the office that same year.

Regardless of your stance on fusion voting, one thing we can all agree on: Fusion cuisine is delicious.

The Commission holds its first public hearing in New York City on September 10th.

In other news…

  • Whose dime is it anyway? An analysis from the New York Times shows that, in the past five years, David C. Rich, the lobbyist for Greater New York Hospital Association, made over 200 political contributions that add up to over $900,000, more than any donor in recent years. In New York, it’s common for wealthy donors to contribute astronomical sums, but here’s the issue: Rich isn’t … rich. So where does the money come from? Some theorize that Rich’s clients are channeling their own donations through his personal bank account to bolster their lobbying efforts (so-called “straw donations”), which would be illegal. What’s the truth? We’ll probably never know–which is why we need limits on what lobbyists can donate.

  • Another day, another scandal from Mayor de Blasio’s presidential campaign: In order to reach the 130,000 donation contributors for him to qualify for the September debate, NYC’s Orthodox Jewish Satmar community used WhatsApp, emails, and even flyers in Yiddish to ask for $1 donations for the mayor – not to support the campaign, but to get in his good graces. One of the posters read: “Please help out with the one-dollar campaign so that he can get into the Democratic debate. The mayor promises that the new [synagogue] will be open for [us] ahead of the upcoming Sukkos holiday.” This is also known as quid pro quo. De Blasio’s team flatly denies being behind the poster with the promises, and let’s hope there’s no connection. But whether or not de Blasio orchestrated the outreach, it didn’t matter: Hizzoner did not make the debate stage.

How to help:

  • Learn about Ranked Choice Voting with RepresentUs NYC in the best way possible: By taste testing and ranking your favorite beers on Thursday, September 5 at 7pm in Queens. Click here to RSVP!
  • Help register people to vote by going to this training session on Saturday, September 14, which covers everything from social media best practices to up-to-date info on registration laws.

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