Skip to content

Ensuring a level playing field for candidates competing for office and limiting the role that money plays in elections and politics are two cornerstones of a healthy democracy. Citizens Union has long championed comprehensive campaign finance reform as a tool to achieve a fairer, cleaner, and more equal political system.  

We believe in publicly financed electoral campaigns that allow people from diverse backgrounds to easily run for office and ensure candidates are accountable to their voters, not wealthy donors. That is why Citizens Union lobbied vigorously for the New York City Campaign Finance Act of 1988, which established contribution limits, public matching funds, and bans on corporate contributions, and has fought to improve and strengthen that system ever since. For decades, CU has pushed Albany lawmakers to adopt a similar model for state elected offices. This work has culminated in a statewide public campaign finance program, which began running in 2022. New York is now running the largest campaign matching funds program in the United States. 

2024 Reform Agenda – Campaign Finance

Reduce the reliance on big-money donors in New York elections 

  • Ensure the state public campaign finance system is adequately funded
  • Encourage participation in the state public campaign finance system
  • Strengthen rules defining coordination between Independent Expenditure entity and candidate committees
  • Further lower contribution limits for legislative and statewide offices
  • Limit contributions to party committees and “housekeeping” accounts or use of those accounts for campaigns

Maintain and strengthen New York City’s campaign finance system

  • Ban bundling by people on the Doing Business with the City Database
  • Improve disclosure requirements on bundling and fundraisers 
  • Prohibit the use of public funds to purchase campaign consulting services from firms that also are registered city lobbyists
  • Prohibit elected officials from soliciting funds for their “affiliated nonprofits”, limit how prominently the official is featured in the nonprofit’s communications, and expand the definition of “affiliation”
  • Make explicit regulation defining coordination between Independent Expenditure entity and candidate, including reference to family members and former staff
  • Ease limits to help matching funds program participants defend from negative, high IE spending
  • Ensure the continued independence and capacity of the NYC Campaign Finance Board


Recent Activity


Testimony before the City Council – oversight hearings on lobbying reform

April 19, 2024 – Testimony on bills regarding prohibitions lobbying in connection with campaign-related fundraising or political consulting, the city’s post-employment restrictions, and other proposed reforms in lobbying oversight and enforcement.
Read more

Group Memo of Opposition to legislation making significant changes to the state public campaign finance program, S8969 (Skoufis)

April 9, 2024 – Citizens joins over a dozen groups in opposition for proposed legislation that would make significant changes to the public campaign finance law before the existing public matching law is used for the first time in an election.
Read more

Testimony for the 2024 Joint Legislative Budget Hearing

February 6, 2024 - Citizens Union appreciates the opportunity to submit testimony regarding Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposed Executive Budget for State Fiscal Year 2025. We will focus on the proposed funding for the  Public Campaign Finance Board, the Commission on Ethics and Lobbying, and the State Board of  Elections.  
Read more

Citizens Union Applauds Governor Hochul For Vetoing Legislation Weakening the State’s Public Campaign Finance System

December 27, 2023 - The bill Governor Hochul has vetoed ran counter to the goals of the landmark program. This decision means the state’s public campaign finance program will continue to amplify the voices of everyday New Yorkers.
Read more

Memo of Support: S995B/A3484A, LLC Transparency Act

December 15, 2023 - Citizens Union urges he Governor to sign the bill that would requirements for foreign and domestic limited liability companies (LLCs) in New York State to publicly disclose their “beneficial owners."
Read more

Statement From Fair Elections For New York Coalition on Public Campaign Finance Board’s Budget Request

December 7, 2023 - Citizens Union joins the Fair Elections coalition in a statement urging Governor Hochul and legislative leaders to provide at least $59.5 million for the Public Campaign Finance Program in the state’s next budget.
Read more

Citizens Union Responds to Last Minute Bill Undermining Statewide Public Campaign Finance Program

June 7, 2023 - Citizens Union releases the following statement from Executive Director Betsy Gotbaum in response to the state legislature introducing a bill that would fundamentally alter New York State’s public campaign finance program:
Read more

Let New York Vote Coalition Urges NYS Legislature to Include Voting Rights and Election Funding in One House Budgets

Feburary 28, 2023 - The Let New York Vote Coalition submitted a letter to NYS Legislative leaders, Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Heastie, outlining our coalition’s budget priorities in FY 2023-24.
Read more

Testimony for the 2023 Joint Legislative Budget Hearing

February 15, 2023 - Testimony for the 2023 Joint Legislative Budget Hearing, Local Government and General Government, regarding the the proposed funding for the Public Campaign Finance Board and the Commission on Ethics and Lobbying
Read more

Governor Hochul’s FY 2024 Executive Budget Includes $39.5 million for New York State Public Campaign Finance Board; Fair Elections for New York Coalition Reacts

Today Governor Hochul introduced her FY 2024 executive budget. It includes $39.5 million for the state’s voluntary small donor match…

Read more

Statement from Citizens Union on Governor Kathy Hochul’s FY24 Executive Budget

February 1, 2023 - Citizens Union has issued to following statement from executive director Betsy Gotbaum in response to Governor Kathy Hochul’s FY2024 executive budget, which was released earlier today
Read more

Coalition Letter Urges New York State Leaders to Protect and Strengthen Democracy in 2023

January 5, 2023 - Citizens Union joined over 100 voting, racial justice, labor, and good government groups to urge Governor Hochul, Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, and Speaker Heastie to continue leading on voting, election administration, and campaign finance reforms in the 2023 legislative session.
Read more
Back To Top