Implementation or Evolution?

February 7, 2008

The Campaign Finance Board recently posted materials on its website that summarize amendments to the NYC Campaign Finance Act adopted in 2007. In several instances, we note, the website summary differs from the language of the new law. For example, most of the legislative changes took effect on December 31, 2007 or January 1, 2008, without provision for retroactive application. One change reduces the portion of matchable contributions that candidates may claim toward the threshold for qualifying to receive public funds from $250 to $175. The CFB summary states that only the first $175 of a contribution counts toward meeting the threshold – implying that this reduced cap applies to all contributions received for the 2009 election. But according to the law, the reduction applies only for contributions received on or after December 31, 2007. In other words, up to $250 of each matchable contribution received before December 31, 2007 should count toward the qualifying threshold. In another instance, the summary deviates from the law in describing exemptions from the spending limit, a topic we previously discussed in some detail. An administrative agency has a duty to follow the law, as does the regulated community. Unfortunately, deviation from this duty often leads to conflict.

Tag: New York City