The Board has determined to issue an opinion clarifying the legal requirements applicable to contributions accepted by a candidate participating in the Campaign Finance Program for a runoff election which is not held or for a general election in which the candidate is not entered.
Candidates participating in the Campaign Finance Program choose and undertake to be subject to its various requirements, including contribution and expenditure limits. These limits apply only in elections in which the candidate seeks nomination or election to an office covered by the Campaign Finance Program. See New York City Administrative Code §3-703(1) (f), 3-706(1); see also §3-702(1) (definition of "eligible candidate"), (10) (definition of "election"). Under Campaign Finance Board Rule 401(a), prior to the date of the primary election, candidates may accept contributions to be used in a possible runoff or general election, provided that those contributions are not commingled with contributions accepted for the primary. Contributions accepted for a runoff election which is not held or for a general election in which the candidate does not seek election to an office are not subject to the contribution or expenditure limits of the Campaign Finance Act, except to the extent that these contributions are used in a subsequent election in which the candidate chooses to participate in the Campaign Finance Program. Administrative Code §3-7121. These contributions may not be used to pay liabilities incurred in the primary election, except to the extent that the contribution limit applicable in the primary election is not thereby exceeded. See Campaign Finance Board Rules 102(o), 401(a) (4).
Participating candidates have the burden of demonstrating that contributions are not subject to the contribution limit and that expenditures are not subject to the expenditure limit. Campaign Finance Board Rules 102(e), (q). In addition, these candidates are required to:
obtain and furnish to the... Board any information it may request relating to his or her campaign expenditures or contributions...
Administrative Code §3-703(1) (e). If the candidate demonstrates that contributions were not accepted for an election subject to the requirements of the Campaign Finance Program, those contributions are not subject to the public fund repayment requirements of Administrative Code §3-710(2) (c) 2, nor is their use "frozen" under Campaign Finance Board Rule 102(t) 3. Thus, candidates who have funds originally accepted for a runoff election which is not held or a general election in which they are not entered need not apply those funds toward repayment of the New York City Election Campaign Finance Fund, but may use those funds for other purposes permitted under applicable law.
NEW YORK CITY CAMPAIGN FINANCE BOARD
If the total of contributions and payments from the fund received by an eligible candidate and his or her authorized committees exceed the total campaign expenditures of such candidate and committees for all elections held in the same calendar year, such candidate and committees shall use such excess funds to reimburse the fund for payments received by the authorized committee from the fund during such calendar year. Such reimbursement shall be made not later than ten days after all liabilities have been paid and in any event, not later than April tenth of the year following such calendar year. No such excess funds shall be used for any other purpose, unless the total amount of the payments received from the fund by the authorized committee has been repaid.
Receipts accepted for an election may not be expended or transferred, and the proceeds of a sale, or lease, or other transfer of assets may not be used for any other campaign for election, unless and until the candidate and his or her authorized committees have made all required repayments to the New York City Election Campaign Finance Fund and paid any fines or civil penalties pursuant to the act.