Activist starts hanging campaign reform banners across New York

SARANAC LAKE – Matt Edge is a political activist on a mission. He plans to hang a political banner and photograph it in every New York county, ending in Albany.

“We’re dropping banners in all 62 counties,” Edge said. “We want to make it hard for him (Gov. Andrew Cuomo) to drop out of his commitment with campaign finance reform.”

Edge said he started in the least populated areas of the North Country and will make his way downstate, ending in Albany. Thursday he was in Watertown, where he hung a banner, and Friday he did the same in Saranac Lake at the site of the Winter Carnival Ice Palace, which was taken down this week.

His motivation is a fear that Cuomo does not really want to pass campaign finance reform, even though it’s a proposal that’s in the governor’s own Executive Budget.

“It’s really important Cuomo stands strong and keeps it in the budget.”

One part of the reform would provide public financing of election campaigns, allowing the state 6-to-1 matching of smaller donations made to candidates. If passed, it would take effect in the 2016 legislative races.

Cuomo reports he has $33.3 million in campaign cash as he heads into the election year.

“We think Cuomo just put it in there to look good,” Edge said. “The way that the current system is set up is so that cronies are invincible. The people who get elected are there for life.”

Edge is the founder of Money Out of Politics Albany, an organization dedicated to campaign finance reform, which also has its roots in the Occupy Wall Street movement.