A Legislative Scorecard for the New York City Campaign Finance Board

07.22.2014

The World Cup is over.  Quadrennial hopes and dreams next turn to the post-election report (PER) the NYC Campaign Finance Board (CFB) must submit to the Mayor and City Council on or before September 1, as it has every four years since 1990.  The PER will include the CFB’s recommendations for legislative changes to the City’s campaign finance laws.  Over the decades these proposals have spurred many changes to those laws.  At the risk of mixing sports metaphors, below we offer a scorecard for the legislative proposals made in the last CFB PER, issued in 2010.
2010 Proposal Score Analysis
Mandatory disclosure of independentexpenditures Home Run Achieved through a 2010 City Charter referendum, the new law brought extensive CFB regulations and a new regulated community/public information resource.  In 2013 the NYC Council trimmed disclosure for intra-organization communications; new proposed legislation (proposed Int. No. 148-A) would expand public identification of owners, officers and funding sources of independent spending entities.
Require that campaign communications identify source of funding Double The same Charter referendum required independent spenders be identified on their public communications.  A 2014 NY State election law amendment includes a similar requirement.  New Council bills would go further, requiring that authorizing candidates be IDed on their communications (Int. No. 6) and that IE communications list their top five donors (proposed Int. No. 148-A).
Refine definition of “doing business” with NYC Whiff The CFB proposed extending the reduced “doing business” contribution limits to placement agents, permissible contribution source entities, associated political committees, unions engaged in collective bargaining with the City, and, possibly, also to family members of those listed in NYC’s Doing Business Database (DBDB).
Increase opponent financing thresholds to qualify for maximum public fundingand bonus public funding Called on Account of Weather In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down public financing triggers based on opponent spending levels.  Pursuant to a 2013 Second Circuit decision, the CFB no longer enforces these provisions.
Prohibit contributions by organizations (labor unions, political committees) Old Timers’ Day Not Scheduled The CFB has made similar proposals in each PER since 1998.  It hit a solid double back in 2007 when the City Council banned contributions by partnerships and LLCs.
Reduce public financing for special elections; require debates for borough president candidates; repeal requirement that publicly financed candidates submit receipts for personal financial disclosures; mandate candidates and treasurers attend CFB trainings Never Came to Bat Which, if any, will be in the 2014 PER lineup?
 

Tag: New York City