State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has abandoned his self-imposed fundraising limits in the face of a challenge from former hedge fund manager Harry Wilson, who has personal wealth, but has yet to say how much of that he might spend on his campaign.
DiNapoli, who had been limited his individual contributions to $20,000 (down from the $55,920 max), announced his decision though a statement released early this afternoon.
“Comprehensive campaign finance reform continues to be an urgent need in New York State,” the comptroller said.
“In contrast to the restrictions I have imposed on my campaign, my opponent, who made millions in the unregulated hedge fund industry, clearly is not bound by limits or constraints on his fundraising.
“I have voluntarily held contributions to my campaign well below the legal limits and I have instituted a ban on pay to play contributions as proposed by the SEC,” DiNapoli continued. “However, I will not unilaterally disarm and allow my opponent to pour unlimited contributions into his campaign while mine continues to accept less than half of what is permitted under current law.”
“My campaign committee will now accept contributions up to the legal limit, just like every other statewide candidate.”
DiNapoli has suggested his office should be used as a test-case for public campaign financing at the state level to get out from under the pay-to-play pension fund scandal of his predecessor.
So far, he’s not getting any traction on that, but he said today that he will continue to advocate for using taxpayer dollars to fund campaigns to “remove the power of money” from the process and “keep access to the system available to everyone.”
“The comptroller’s office is too important to be sold to the highest bidder,” DiNapoli concluded.
As of mid-January, DiNapoli had just $1.3 million on hand – a number low enough for Democrats to privately complain about his fundraising prowess. Early on in his tenure, he was so concerned about dispelling the whole pay-to-play allegation that he was sending contributions back.
DiNapoli, a onetime Long Island assemblyman who was appointed to his post by his former legislative colleagues in 2007 following Alan Hevesi’s death by Chauffeurgate, is running statewide for the first time this fall.
He is widely viewed as vulnerable, in part due to the fact that the majority of New Yorkers have no idea who he is (to be fair, they don’t know Wilson, a political newcomer, either).
The fact that the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, AG Andrew Cuomo, has dragged DiNapoli into the pension fund investigation and was at one time reportedly trying to woo a primary challenger into the race against the comptroller isn’t helping the comptroller’s cause, either.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Liz Benjamin on June 11, 2010 at 1:48 pm, and is filed under Fundraising, Harry Wilson, Tom DiNapoli. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|