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Comptroller Opts Out of Public Finance, Saying Test Program is Flawed

Matt Ryan New York Now

The state’s comptroller says he won’t be participating in a new pilot public campaign finance program agreed to in the state budget, and government reform groups say, they don’t blame him.

Saying he won’t be a “convenient sacrificial lamb”, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says he won’t opt in to a test system for public campaign finance that applies only to his office, and would use money from the Comptroller’s unclaimed funds to pay for it.  

“At this point, I cannot participate in this pilot,” DiNapoli said in a statement, saying the program “is a poor excuse to avoid the real reforms”.

The government reform group Common Cause calls DiNapoli’s decision the “only rational and responsible choice”, and says the program was only designed to provide “political cover for Albany’s failure to enact real reform”.

The Comptroller says he hopes the governor and the legislature will “reconsider”, and enact more comprehensive public campaign finance before the end of the legislative session.

Meanwhile, Governor Cuomo’s press secretary is accusing the comptroller of just not wanting to participate in public campaign financing. Spokesman Matt Wing says in a statement  “we are surprised that the Comptroller is opting out” and adds that if he has “specific concerns” the proposal can be modified.

“Unless, of course, he just doesn't want to do public financing,” Wing said.