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1999-5: Guidance on Certain Political Committee Contributions and Expenditures Made for 2001 Elections

Tuesday, February 23, 1999

Re: Administrative Code §3-712; Campaign Finance Board Rules 1-04(f), (m); 1-05(h); 1-07; 1-08(c) (1); Op. No. 1999-5.

Vallone 2001, the political committee authorized to support the candidacy of Peter F. Vallone for mayor, has requested an advisory opinion whether contributions to and expenditures by the following political committees are subject to the contribution and expenditure limits of the New York City Campaign Finance Act in the event Mr. Vallone joins the Campaign Finance Program for the 2001 elections1.

1) Friends of Peter Vallone (Committee authorized for 1997 City Council re-election campaign)

The request describes the following facts:

After the 1997 election the committee continued in existence.

... This committee raised funds and made expenditures until it was terminated on January 11, 1999. The expenditures included... buying advertisements in community newspapers and political journals, making contributions to political and community organizations and paying expenses of maintaining and operating the committee. In addition, this committee transferred money to New York State Friends of Peter Vallone the gubernatorial committee, discussed below.

Contributions and loans received, and expenditures made, by this committee before January 12, 1999, are presumed by the Board to be for the 1998 governor's race, Mr. Vallone's most recent campaign for elective office. Campaign Finance Board Rules 1-04(f), 1-05(h), and 1-08(c) (1) 2. These transactions are thus, in general, not subject to limits of the Act. New York City Administrative Code § 3-712. This presumption can be overcome, if evidence is presented to show a connection with the 2001 mayoral election, see, e.g., Rule 1-07(d), and would, in any event, be overcome with respect to any funds this committee transfers to Vallone 2001, which are attributed to previous receipts for purposes of assuring compliance with the Act's contribution limit. Rule 1-07(c). See also Advisory Opinion No. 1999-3 (January 7, 1999).

2) New York State Friends of Peter Vallone (Committee authorized for 1998 Gubernatorial election campaign)

In addition to having been created and authorized to support Mr. Vallone's candidacy in the 1998 primary and general elections for governor, according to the request, this committee has continued in existence after January 11, 1999 to pay outstanding obligations of the 1998 gubernatorial election, some of which remain undetermined. Once all the obligations of the 1998 election have been determined and satisfied, the New York State Friends of Peter Vallone will be terminated.

As stated above, the Board's presumption is that transactions before January 12, 1999 were for the 1998 gubernatorial election. Rules 1-04(f), 1-05(h), and 1-08(c) (1). In addition, contributions received on and after January 12, 1999 that are expended "solely for the purpose of satisfying the obligations of the 1998 gubernatorial election" are not presumed to be for the 2001 mayoral election and are not subject to the limits of the Act. Administrative Code §3-712; Rule 1-04(f) (1), (m); but see Rule 1-07 (regarding transfers to Vallone 2001).

NEW YORK CITY CAMPAIGN FINANCE BOARD

1 The request was made by A.J. Constantinople, Treasurer of Vallone 2001, by letter dated January 13, 1999.

2 Because Mr. Vallone ran for governor in 1998, the conclusions reached in Advisory Opinion No. 1993-12 (December 16, 1993) would not apply before January 12, 1999. It should be emphasized that the characterization of this committee under state law may be different; Vallone 2001 should contact the State Board of Elections for guidance on this issue.