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1989-1: Expenditure Limitations for Government Appropriations

Tuesday, January 03, 1989

An opinion has been requested whether the expenditure limitations applicable to elections for which a candidate seeks to be qualified to receive public funds (New York City Administrative Code §3-706(1), (2)) apply to the expenditure of government appropriations by an office-holder for constituent services or expenses incidental to the holding of a public office.

The relevant provisions of Administrative Code §3-706 (1) and (2) provide:

The following limitations apply to all expenditures made by a candidate and his or her authorized committees on or after the first day of January preceding the election for which such candidate chooses to participate in the public funding provisions of this chapter and to expenditures made at any time prior to such date for services, materials, facilities, advertising or other things of value received, rendered, published, distributed or broadcast on or after such date:

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this subdivision, in each primary election and in each general election, expenditures by an eligible candidate for one of the following offices and his or her authorized committees shall not exceed the following amounts:

mayor: $3,000,000 president of the city council or comptroller: $1,750,000 borough president: $625,000

member of the city council: $60,000

The following limitations apply to all expenditures made by a candidate and his or her authorized committees in the calendar year preceding the year of the election for which such candidate chooses to participate in the public funding provisions of this chapter and to expenditures made at any time prior to such date for services, materials, facilities, advertising or other things of value received, rendered, published, distributed or broadcast in such calendar year. Such expenditures by such a candidate for one of the following offices and his or her authorized committees shall not exceed the following amounts:

mayor, president of the city council or comptroller: $150,000 borough president: $100,000 member of the city council: $50,000

These limitations have been construed by the Campaign Finance Board to apply to:

all expenditures made or incurred by a candidate who seeks to be qualified to receive public funds or by any authorized committee of the candidate for the purpose of promoting or facilitating the nomination or election of the candidate, including expenditures made for the purpose of promoting or facilitating the defeat of his or her opponent or prospective opponent...

Campaign Finance Board Regulation §105(a).

It is the opinion of the Board that the expenditure limitations of the New York City Campaign Finance Act were not intended to restrict the use of monies appropriated by the government for expenditures by a person holding a public office and these expenditures are therefore outside the jurisdiction of the Board, and not subject to the expenditure limitations of Administrative Code §3-706(1) and (2) or the provisions of Section 105(a) and 105(b) (9) of the Campaign Finance Board Regulations1.

NEW YORK CITY CAMPAIGN FINANCE BOARD

1 Section 105(b) (9) of the Campaign Finance Board Regulations provides that the expenditure limitations of Section 3-706(1) and (2) do not apply to:

expenditures for constituent services or any other expense incidental to the holding of a public office, which are for acts undertaken in an official capacity and not for the purpose of promoting or facilitating the nomination or election of a candidate or the defeat of his or her opponent made prior to the first day of January preceding the election for which the candidate chooses to participate in the public financing system.