CLEANING $$$ IN CITY POLITICS

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A coalition of good-government groups has released a nine-point plan for sanitizing New York City’s campaign finance system. All of the reforms, conceived to reduce the influence of big-money contributors, can be accomplished through an act of the City Council or changes in existing city regulations.

“Nothing here requires anything like charter revision. It can all be done easily,” said Neal Rosenstein of the New York Public Interest Research Group, one of the plan’s co-sponsors. The City Club, Common Cause, League of Women Voters, the Women’s City Club and the City Project also helped draft the plan. Several of the measures are already included in a bill submitted to the council by the city’s Campaign Finance Board.

Some key points of the plan include:

– Reducing the individual and PAC contribution limits to mayoral and citywide candidates from $7,700 to a flat $5,000; City Council members from $3,550 to $2,000.

– Encouraging smaller contributions to city elections by doubling public matching funds for contributions under $500.

– Banning postage-free district mailings by incumbents three months leading up to an election.