Zephyr Teachout on Government Reform
Catering to wealthy donors is exactly what the Cuomo administration is guilty of, said Teachout, who thinks that Cuomo's "inconsistent" combination of progressive social policy and trickle-down economics is due to the sway of his donors.
"The only way to make sense of some of his policies--tax breaks for big banks that aren't going anywhere--is to look at his donors," she said, adding that Cuomo's support for public financing of elections is "his favorite broken promise."
Teachout said she sees general political culture as the dog that wags the tail of individual cases of corruption, which is why for her campaign finance reform is paramount. She testified before the anti-corruption Moreland Commission, "Historically, culture-changing rules have proven to be more powerful at eliminating corruption."
Governor Cuomo has promised many times to enact public financing of elections. It is, sadly, the Governor's favorite promise to break.
"Four years ago, Andrew Cuomo stood on the steps of a courthouse named after Boss Tweed and promised to clean up corruption in New York State," Teachout said. "But he, as Governor Cuomo, has become the problem that candidate Cuomo promised to fix. The political system is still corrupt and rigged and Andrew Cuomo is not only part of the broken system, he has made it worse."
Teachout repeatedly portrayed Cuomo as a politician who has failed to address the state's "equality crisis" and one who acted only to further his own political interests and those of his financial donors. "He has never done anything that would irritate his wealthy donors," Teachout said. "What I see is somebody who serves himself and his donors. And that is the most basic Democratic crime in a sense."