From the NY Times:
Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker and an expected candidate for mayor next year, is supporting a change to New York City’s campaign finance rules that would significantly expand the ability of unions, corporations and advocacy groups to spend money on behalf of local candidates.
The bill, to be introduced on Monday, would allow those outside groups to work directly with candidates on their internal political communications with members — including phone calls and door knocking tours, although not large-scale mailings — without the costs counting against the candidates’ spending limits.
Critics said the measure, introduced nine months ahead of what is expected to be a closely contested mayoral race, would effectively outsmart the city’s stringent campaign finance system, which tries to rein in spending by interest groups and candidates alike.
In a strongly worded statement on Friday, the city’s Campaign Finance Board said the legislation “would open a gaping loophole” in the city’s regulations, “eviscerate” limits on coordinated spending by outside groups and “allow unions and corporations to operate above the law.”
“A change of this magnitude has never before been proposed this late in the four-year election cycle,” the board said in a memorandum marked “Urgent.”
But supporters of the bill, including civil libertarians and some of the state’s biggest grass-roots advocacy groups, said the measure was intended to guarantee the First Amendment rights of unions and other organizations to speak freely about political matters with their members.