Paterson Signals Softer Approach to Campaign Finance Reform

David Paterson just wrapped up what one photographer described as a “till the dog dies” press conference–he stood and answered questions for nearly 20 minutes straight.

On what would have been two of Eliot Spitzer’s signature issues–voluntarily limiting campaign contributions to $10,000 and a campaign finance reform bill–Paterson signaled he will try a different approach.

On campaign finance reform, Paterson said he wants persuade lawmakers for the time being, rather than pressuring them into supporting a bill.

He noted that campaign finance reform “was something that I fought for as a member of the senate minority…[it] was in our agenda that goes back into the 90s.”

But he emphasized that, “[W]e want to not dictate campaign finance. We want to really persuade legislators that it really is the root of a lot of dysfunction that we have in Albany. In other words, the over-financing of the campaigns. Obviously there has to be fund-raising, it’s a necessary function. We’d like to come to some consensus with the two legislative bodies [inaudible].”

Paterson also signaled he would not, as Spitzer did, limit contributions to his own campaign to $10,000.

“There are issues related to campaign spending that I think need to be addressed,” he said. “For instance, there are a lot more expenses in which the campaigns are asked to pledge money. For instance, flying in a helicopter, extra people flying in a helicopter. On occasion the state picks up. Now, the campaign finances pick up. That has to be factored into the whole idea of how much money each candidate will be allowed to raise.”

Paterson Signals Softer Approach to Campaign Finance Reform