Saturday, October 8, 2016

NYC Campaign Finance Board and Its Scofflaws

On September 15th, the New York City's Campaign Finance Board (CFB) nnounced the latest round of fines coming out of the City Election cycle that wrapped up nearly three years ago.

The Board penalized candidates from six unsuccessful campaigns for City Council, Public Advocate, and the Mayor’s Office.

If the past is a guide, most of these former candidates will cut the CF a check and close the book on the campaign. A handful, however, may carry an IOU for years.

According to CFB records, as of August 23, some 77 people owe a combined $2.16 million in fines or required repayment of public financing.

Repayment of public funds accounted for $1.59 million of that amount.

Given the hundreds of candidates who have participated in the City's pioneering and complex Campaign Finance system, which requires broad disclosure, offers generous public matching funds and restricts fundraising and campaign spending, and the hundreds of millions of dollars that have been raised and spent since that apparatus was launched in 1989, the overdue list is fairly small.

Crafted in response to Municipal corruption scandals during the Koch Administration and drastic disparities in candidate spending Election cycle after cycle, the City's Campaign Finance law limits the sizes of Campaign donations and requires detailed disclosure of where candidates' money comes from and where it goes. It also offers candidates a chance at Public Financing: If a Campaign collects a threshold amount of money from a minimum number of donors, and agrees to a cap on total Campaign spending, the Board will match with taxpayer money some portion of the contributions the Campaign collects from New York City residents.

CLICK HERE to see who the Scofflaws are.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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