04.23.2012The New York Post reported today on an effort to draft Police Commissioner Ray Kelly to run as a candidate for NYC mayor in 2013. The story implies that a political committee may soon be established to raise funds in support of a potential Kelly candidacy. Commissioner Kelly must tread carefully so as not to give his imprimatur to a mayoral political fundraising effort on his behalf. In a 2001 opinion, the City Conflicts of Interest Board (COIB) broadly construed the City Charter to prohibit high-ranking appointed officials from directly or indirectly soliciting contributions for their own campaigns for NYC office. Thus, it is therefore likely that the new political committee would be established without the Police Commissioner’s authorization. As an “unauthorized committee”, however, the contributions it raises would not be matchable with public funds under NYC campaign finance law. It seems unlikely that the Campaign Finance Board would permit the candidate’s later authorization of the committee to retroactively allow for the matching of contributions. Even if that hurdle was cleared, the candidate would face the risk that his later authorization of the draft committee could run afoul of the COIB prohibition on indirect solicitations.
Tag: New York City