Why We Invested
New York State has struggled to emerge from a long history of political scandals. In recent years, a number of the state’s most powerful elected officials have left office after indictments or convictions, as have numerous state legislators. The public’s unhappiness over the pervasive influence of money in state politics has led to a loud call for new legislation that would reform campaign finance and ethics laws. But the state legislature has resisted. Reinvent Albany and the Brennan Center for Justice convened a working group of public minded New Yorkers with experience in technology, elections, and transparency. The working group engaged in in-depth discussions with government regulators, campaign treasurers, experts from academia and watchdog groups, and major technology firms.
The working group produced a blueprint for an affordable, state-of-the-art campaign finance reporting system called the State Open Campaign System, which would become a state of the art website and database system that uses technology to transform state election campaigns, and make them cleaner, fairer and more transparent.
The working group’s recommendations to develop SOCS were presented to leaders in Albany, the NYC Campaign Finance Board, and New York’s Moreland Commission on Public Corruption.