Right now, the City Council is considering a bill that would reduce the corrupting power of lobbyists. We have the chance to make sure that the city’s public matching program amplifies the voices of small donors, not those of lobbyists and special interests!

But a City Council staffer just told us that council Speaker Mark-Viverito is quietly trying to block this crucial bill. Momentum is building to force her to reconsider: first Mayor de Blasio announced his support for the bill, and now the New York Times has publicized the speaker’s secretive effort to protect lobbyists.

Here’s the problem that the bill, Int 0985, addresses: currently, the Campaign Finance Board matches donations of less than $175 at a 6-1 ratio. The excellent program is designed to bolster the power of grassroots contributors. But right now, lobbyists can “bundle” together money from small donors and still get that 6-1 matching -- meaning that your tax dollars are going to magnify the demands of special interests!

The New York Times calls this problem a “wormhole that hundreds of thousands of dollars flow through.” In the 2013 election, bundlers gave $2.7 million to city candidates -- and the public gave $1.2 million to match many of these special-interest contributions!

Council Member Kallos has stood up for small donors and introduced Int 0985. This progressive bill would end the matching of donations “bundled” by those in the city’s “doing business” database, such as lobbyists and companies holding city contracts.

The Speaker prides herself on her progressive reputation. She has the power to decide whether the bill gets a vote or not. If we show her that grassroots activists care about real reform for New York City, we can change her mind about Int 0985-2015. Send her an email while the momentum is with us!

For more information, here’s the New York Times story: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/01/nyregion/an-uphill-fight-to-curb-the-pull-of-new-york-citys-lobbyists.html

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