The IE Rules Are Here!, The IE Rules Are Here!

September 8, 2011

After 10 months gestation, the New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB) has proposed rules to implement last year’s Charter revision requiring the disclosure of independent expenditures (i.e., IE) in NYC elections.  We have previously commented (here and, more recently, here) and testified on this subject, and may be providing additional commentary in the coming days. The proposed rules mark the first time that non-candidate individuals, corporations, non-profit entities, and labor organizations must register with, report expenditures and contributions to, and retain records subject to review by the CFB – a regulated existence previously only experienced by candidates for NYC office.  The proposal defines the “express advocacy” and “electioneering” communication expenditures that trigger such obligations.  There’s an exemption for the news media and a limited exemption for certain “member” communications. The CFB is inviting public comment and will soon schedule a public hearing.  In the interim, we offer one hypothetical question: Suppose Labor Union President A is a candidate for NYC office.  The Labor Union scrupulously avoids making any express advocacy or electioneering communication in support of Candidate A, but freely makes independent expenditures in support of other candidates, B through Z.  Assuming Candidate A participates in the Labor Union’s decision to make these expenditures, would the expenditures be reportable to the CFB as independent expenditures, as in-kind contributions to Candidate A(!), or not reportable at all? UpdateNY Times coverage Update 2: The proposed rules (reflecting technical corrections) are here.  The public hearing is scheduled for October 27.  

Tags: New York CityNew York State