Earlier in September, the Manhattan Institute’s Stephen Eide wrote an op-ed critical of public campaign financing as a cure for political corruption. He also took a critical shot at the exemption afforded labor union PACs.

"More important, public financing definitely has not eliminated corruption from New York City government. All the local officials caught in scandal in recent years (Miguel Martinez, Larry Seabrook, Dan Halloran) had participated in the matching-funds program.

Matching funds have even been the cause of corruption.

In 2003, Sheldon Leffler, a former candidate for Queens borough president, was found guilty of attempting to divide a large contribution into a series of small ones that would qualify for the public-funds match.

Al Baldeo and Ron Reale, unsuccessful candidates for City Council and Public Advocate, respectively, have also been convicted for attempted straw-donor schemes.

In May, a Queens grand jury indicted City Councilman Ruben Wills for stealing $11,500 in matching funds via a shell company supposedly created to do campaign work."


Michael Benjamin (@SquarePegDem) is a former state legislator turned op-ed writer, blogger and consultant.