State of Elections

William & Mary Law School | Election Law Society

Tag: NY campaign finance

The Big Apple and Big Money: Matching Public Funds in New York City

By: Caiti Anderson

It seems that New York politicians can’t catch a break – or they just can’t stop getting caught for their indiscretions. Celia Dosamantes, a 25-year-old rising star in Queens, learned this the hard way. Arrested on September 7, 2016, Ms. Dosamantes allegedly forged campaign donations to receive the 6-for-1 matching funds during her failed 2015 run for City Council. While other news organization will surely cover Ms. Dosamantes scandalous trial, New York City’s unique and progressive campaign finance laws stand at the center of this story, and deserve recognition.

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NY Loophole Allows Individual’s $4.3 Million in Direct Contributions, Part II

By: Dan Carroll

As detailed in a recent State of Elections post, a misguided 1996 New York State Board of Elections (BOE) decision treating limited liability companies (LLCs) as individual people rather than corporate entities. The decision allows LLCs to directly contribute up to $60,800 to an individual candidate for statewide office while traditional corporate entities are limited to $5,000 in aggregate contributions to all candidates in a year. LLCs need not disclose the identities of their founders, membership or officers, so their political activities are difficult to link to their funders.

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NY Loophole Allows Individual’s $4.3 Million in Direct Contributions

By: Dan Carroll

Given the controversy surrounding the Supreme Court’s decisions upending federal campaign finance law in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the average voter might be surprised to find out that federal law still prohibits corporations from making direct contributions to candidates for federal office and limits the amount individuals can contribute to a particular campaign. On the other hand, twenty-two states allow but limit direct contributions from corporations to candidates for state office.

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Citizens United: Does it affect New York elections?

by Andrew Bruskin

The following is a follow-up to an original article written in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

According to several New York publications, not much has changed since this decision was handed down. The Campaign Finance Board states, “NYC already bans direct contributions to candidates and employs strong requirements for disclosure in order to preserve transparency and accountability. As it has for more than 20 years, New York City’s public matching funds program provides candidates with public funds that give small donors a voice to counterbalance the impact of special interest spending.” The New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) states that this decision “will not have too much affect in Albany” anyway. “It is like the Wild Wild west right now anyway,” notes Blair Horner, the legislative director of the group. He further states that New York does not have restrictions on corporate campaign finance, so this ruling is minimal when it comes to New York’s electoral process. Corporations can spend-spend-spend away, with few McCain-Feingold restrictions.

Evan Johnston of the Examiner completely disagrees with the court’s ruling and with both NYPIRG and the New York Campaign Finance Board. Mr. Johnston says, “the ruling, which was to remove any restrictions a corporation might have otherwise run into in paying for virtually unlimited advertising time to sink a candidate who might propose something like term limits, or campaign finance reform, or any number of a host of public policy options that are remotely hostile to corporate interests. That is what New Yorkers need to be concerned about.” Continue reading

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