A federal appeals court ruling today clears the way for advocates of Republican Joe Lhota to give unlimited contributions to a political action group supporting his run for mayor.
The federal injunction temporarily lifts the state's $150,000 contribution to PACs for individuals. The decision comes just 12 days before the mayoral election.
"We would have preferred to be able to get involved earlier, but given the short time frame we've got left, we're going to fully exercise our First Amendment rights," said Mike Carvin, a Washington lawyer who represents New York for Progress and Protection PAC.
The lawsuit ultimately could transform the electoral landscape in New York City, which has strict campaign finance laws.
A spokeswoman for Democrat Bill de Blasio's campaign said the decision empowers "right-wing billionaires" to drown out the voices of New Yorkers." The campaign also released this video:
Matt Sollars, a spokesman for New York City's Campaign Finance Board, said it's "unwise to overturn New York State's aggregate contribution limits only weeks before a citywide election."
He added: "Today’s reversal by the Court of Appeals could unleash a last-minute tidal wave of special interest money into the election...Thanks to new rules put in place for this election, these contributions will be visible to the public. Independent expenditures by outside groups and contributions to those groups must be disclosed to the CFB within 24 hours during the last two weeks before Election Day.”
The Lhota campaign declined to comment.
Listen to an interview about the ruling with WNYC's Anna Sale below.