NYC: Candidate contributions are campaign expenditures

In New York State, there is “fusion”, where a candidate can be on a major party ballot line, as well as on a third party ballot line. This new decision, made by the New York City Campaign Finance Board, will most likely affect how third parties interact with candidates in New York City races.

(excerpt from) Daily Politics/NY Daily News
CFB: Candidate Contributions Are Campaign Expenditures

by Elizabeth Benjamin / October 21, 2009 3:00 PM

The CFB today agreed with an allegation by Bill Thompson that political contributions to committees that support candidates made by Mayor Bloomberg using his vast personal wealth are, in fact, campaign expenditures and should be reported as such.

This is an about-face for the board, which has never before subjected personal spending to disclosure requirements.

However, the decision won’t have any immediate effect on Bloomberg – or any other candidate who made similar contributions in 2009 – because the board won’t be instituting this new rule until 2010…

Here’s the summarized determination; (the link to the full determination can be found here):

“The Board finds that political contributions made by Bloomberg, and all candidates, with their personal funds to political committees that support candidates in New York City and throughout New York State are campaign expenditures in furtherance of their campaigns.”

“The Board has never previously clarified for candidates that they must report to the Board political contributions made with personal funds. Therefore, candidates – including Bloomberg – who have not reported these political contributions for the 2009 election cycle will not be found in violation of the Act or Board Rules, and such contributions will not be considered in the Board’s audit review of disclosure reports.

“Beginning January 12, 2010, all candidates must report these political contributions to the Board as expenditures unless the contributions are not in furtherance of the campaign. Any failure to report such contributions may result in a finding of a violation of the Act and Board Rules.”

[What sparked candidate Bill Thompson’s complaint was]…cash Bloomberg has given to the Republican and Independence parties, which subsequently endorsed him and gave him permission to run on their respective ballot lines.

Bloomberg’s campaign responded by noting that Thompson made $6,000 worth of campaign contributions to the Working Families Party, which has endorsed him for mayor, in 2002 and 2003 that weren’t reported as spending…

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