During the 2013 City Council elections, there was more money spent on independent mailers than all of the candidates’ expenditures combined. A glaring loophole in the campaign finance law led to negative ads that were at times attacks on candidates' personal lives, backgrounds, or beliefs, councilmembers said Wednesday before a committee hearing on legislation to ban these ads.
“We want candidates to own up to what they’re saying,” said councilmember Dan Garodnick, who is introducing a bill that will require every ad or communication paid for or authorized by a candidate to disclose that information.
Councilmember Brad Lander is introducing another bill that will require all independent ads and communications relating to local elections to make clear it is funded by an outside group, and include the name of the organization’s owner, CEO, and top three donors. While many of the ads were hostile, the only information voters had about where the information was coming from was the vague and positive sounding organization names, Lander said.