Saying there’s still too much private money in New York City politics, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is calling for full public financing of elections.
Adams will deliver testimony at a New York City Council hearing Friday morning on a bill to establish a charter revision commission. Adams wants to eliminate the current system, which provides qualifying candidates with a 6-to-1 match of campaign donations under $175. But donors are able to give well above that limit, and savvy operators can bundle donations to effectively give even more to candidates.
He’s proposing a system of so-called “democracy vouchers” like in Seattle, or full public financing, like in Arizona. Adams says this is “the most important reform” a charter revision commission could pursue. Adams may have double the chances – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the first members of his own charter revision commission on Thursday.
Adams, who is planning a 2021 mayoral run, has not shied away from private donors in the past. He declined to receive public funds in his 2013 race for borough president and again in his 2017 re-election race. And Adams’ nonprofit One Brooklyn Fund has received scrutiny for soliciting donations from big-money firms like Broadway Stages.