Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is getting involved in the state’s campaign finance laws, calling for limiting the influence of big donors.
“These changes to our election system are really important. In my campaign, I didn’t accept a single dollar from corporations. The average donation in my campaign was $15,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a video released by the advocacy group Make the Road New York.
“That’s really important because it changes the issues, it changes the advocacy, that we have in Congress. And that would have the same effects here in New York.”
She then slammed New York’s law as more lax than the federal law when it comes to campaign donations.
“Here in New York, someone who wants to run for state Senate or state Assembly can accept more corporate donations than a member of Congress at the federal level,” said the congresswoman.
Election reformers are pushing for a public finance system that allows candidates to collect $6 in public matching funds for every dollar in small donations they receive, similar to New York City’s program.
As it happens, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced proposals this year to lower campaign contribution limits and enact the 6-to-1 public matching program.
For statewide races, candidates would be able to collect no more than $25,000 combined from a donor for a primary or general election campaign, down from $65,100.
For Senate races, donors would be allowed to give no more than $10,000, down from $18,000.
For Assembly races, contribution limits would drop from $8,800 to $6,000 combined for primary and general elections.
The Legislature, controlled by Democrats, is likely to pass stricter contribution limits. The Assembly and Senate already approved a law last month to limit contributions from real estate moguls through a network of limited liability corporations.
Ruth Lopez of Make the Road New York had asked the congresswoman about big money in politics and the group posted the video of her answer, which it interpreted from Spanish.
“Each election cycle, we see the wealthy and corporations trying to control our democracy with their money — and often succeeding. We are thrilled to see Rep. Ocasio-Cortez stand with us at the state level, just as she has so powerfully at the federal level, to level the playing field of our democracy,” Lopez said.