Public Hearing on Independent Expenditures in NYC Elections

February 25, 2011

Last November, New York City voters adopted a Charter revision proposal to require public disclosure of independent expenditures in City elections. Now comes the hard part: adopting rules to flesh out just what these new disclosure and disclaimer requirements will really mean for individuals, organizations, corporations, political committees, labor unions, and others who want to speak out about elected officials and candidates in the days and months before an election. The City Campaign Finance Board wants to know what you think. On Tuesday, March 10, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., it will hold a public hearing to gather information to inform its future rulemaking. The CFB recommends consideration of the following issues in preparing testimony: • Scope of regulated activity. Should the requirements apply to communications containing express advocacy, or also to those that refer to a clearly identified candidate (or ballot measure) shortly before an election? • Required information. What information should an independent spender be required to disclose about itself, its funding sources, and its vendors? Within what timeframe should this information be reported to the Board? • Exemptions. Should certain communications or actors be exempt from the disclosure rules? Should certain contributions, such as those earmarked for a specific non-political purpose, be exempted from source disclosure rules? • Enforcement. How should the Board uncover potential violations of the disclosure rules? Should it rely on complaints only, or initiate investigations of unreported activity? • Disclaimer requirements. Should the disclaimer/identifier on the face of the communication be subject to language, font size and placement requirements? Should certain communications be exempt from such requirements? • Outreach. How can the Board best conduct outreach and training to potential independent spenders once the independent expenditure rules are approved?

Tag: New York City