New Rules Proposed for Independent Spending Disclosure in NYC Elections

The public will know more about how unions, corporations, and other groups spend money independently to influence elections in New York City. The Campaign Finance Board voted out proposed rules today to implement disclosure for the first time of independent expenditures, a requirement approved by voters last November.

These disclosure rules that the public can see who's spending what, and on behalf of which candidate, in city elections, in a database like the one that already exists for candidate spending. One of the more parts of the rules is how the board distinguished between campaign activity and membership-building communications. For example, is a union mailing to members weeks before an election a campaigned expenditure that needs to be disclosed, or is it internal communication with members?

Looking to the independent expenditure rules of Los Angeles as a model, here’s a table that shows how the Campaign Finance Board came down on those questions, from the board's guide to the proposed rules:

 

The Campaign Finance Board’s unanimously approved the proposed rules but will still go through a public comment period before a final vote to approve them. A public hearing is expected in late October.