Saturday, November 4, 2017

Speaker race campaign finance shenanigans questioned

From Progress Queens:

Because Election Day is four (4) days away, on Tuesday, 07 November, Progress Queens is publicly releasing a civilian crime report filed by the publisher of Progress Queens with the U.S. Attorney's Office for New York's southern district.

The complaint outlined how the eight (8) candidates for New York City Council speaker have been making donations to other Councilmembers out of their committees to reëlect to win support for the speakership campaign ; have been having meetings, including with U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Queens) ; and have been preparing for debates or holding debates before the November general election. The Council speaker candidates are: Councilmembers Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. (D-Brooklyn), Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan), Mark Levine (D-Manhattan), Donovan Richards (D-Queens), Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan), Ritchie Torres (D-The Bronx), Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Queens), and Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn).

These speakership campaign activities have been taking place in the apparent absence of dedicated campaign committees for the speakership race. Four years ago, the Municipal campaign finance regulatory authority reportedly provided advice to Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Spanish Harlem) that using a committee to reëlect for the speakership race was prohibited, forcing her to form a separate, dedicated campaign committee for the speakership race.

A review of information about campaign committees tracked online by the New York State Board of Elections did not identify which campaign committees were designated for the speakership race. For this report, attempts were made to reach the Council speaker candidates, or their representatives, but no response was received to a request made late Thursday evening. The Federal complaint alleges that Council speaker candidates, who do not presently have a dedicated campaign committee for the speakership race, are violating campaign finance laws, because the absence of a dedicated Council speakership race campaign committees implies that campaign consultants are working for free, a violation of law.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm left scratching my head here. The speaker race is an internal election among the Council to fill a board role. The powers granted are significant, but it never occurred to me that this would qualify as a public campaign that would require a registered committee in accordance to elections open to the general public. Louis Flores is usually solid, but according to the link he cites, it is only NYCCFB rules that seem to prevent expenditures. I don't read anything about mandates to open up a separate committee for this kind of internal appointment. Maybe someone else who knows more can weigh in.