Mayor Koch, Ed Koch, New York City Campaign Finance Reform Act, Father O’Hare, McCain-Feingold, Shays-Meehan, spending limits, campaign finance fines, soft money, public campaign financing, From the Ground Up: Local Lessons for National Reform


In this address, former Mayor of New York Ed Koch discussed the successful efforts of his administration to create New York’s Campaign Finance Reform Act, a voluntary program imposing lower spending limits and detailed public disclosure requirements on candidates for the five New York City offices who chose to seek public financing. Speaking from the unique position as the first candidate to ever be fined under the Act, Mr. Koch illustrated the importance of the nonpartisan board created under the Act. He then recounted briefly the history of the program and discussed some of the specifics of the original Campaign Finance Reform Act and subsequent amendments. Mr. Koch then turned to the issue of soft money and federal reform, discussing the House’s Shays-Meehan bill and the Senate’s McCain-Feingold bill and articulating a belief that current regulations of soft money contribution limits could work, if amended to provide adjustments for inflation. Next, Mr. Koch advocated for public financing in elections and equal limits on corporate and labor union contributions. Finally, Mr. Koch listed specific reforms generally, and to New York City’s program specifically that he believed were necessary even if by amendment, such as eliminating the use of private wealth, application of contribution limits and disclosure requirements to all candidates (instead of just those seeking public financing) and restrictions on the campaign season’s time period. This transcript was taken at From the Ground Up: Local Lessons for National Reform, a national conference on campaign finance reform held on November 9, 1998, sponsored by the New York City Campaign Finance Board and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.

Included in

Legislation Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.