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Chapter 46, §1052: Campaign finance board

a. 1. There shall be a campaign finance board consisting of five members. Two members of the board shall be appointed by the mayor, provided that not more than one such member shall be enrolled in any one political party, and two members shall be appointed by the speaker of the council, provided that not more than one such member shall be enrolled in any one political party, and one member, who shall be the chairperson, shall be appointed by the mayor after consultation with the speaker. The members shall first be appointed to serve as follows:

(a) one member appointed by the speaker for a term of one year;

(b) one member appointed by the mayor for a term of two years;

(c) one member appointed by the speaker for a term of three years;

(d) one member appointed by the mayor for a term of four years; and

(e) the chairperson for a term of five years.

The first term shall commence on April first, nineteen hundred eighty-eight. Thereafter, each member shall be appointed, by the mayor or the speaker, according to the original manner of appointment, for a term of five years that shall, for any term beginning on or after March first two thousand eleven, commence on December first. Terms that began before, and have not expired on, March first, two thousand eleven shall be extended and shall expire on the November thirtieth following their original March thirty-first expiration dates. Upon expiration of the term of a member, if the mayor or the speaker, as appropriate, shall fail to appoint a member within one hundred twenty days of the expiration of such term, the member whose term has expired shall be deemed appointed for an additional term of five years, provided, however, that if the expiration of such term occurs in a year in which elections, except special elections, covered by the voluntary system of campaign finance reform are scheduled, the member whose term has expired shall be deemed appointed for an additional term of five years if the mayor or the speaker, as appropriate, shall fail to appoint a member within ninety days of the expiration of such term. In case of a vacancy in the office of a member, a member shall be appointed to serve for the remainder of the unexpired term by the mayor or the speaker, according to the original manner of appointment. If the mayor or the speaker, as appropriate, shall fail to appoint a member within one hundred eighty days of such vacancy, then a member shall be appointed by the board to serve for the remainder of the unexpired term, if additional time remains in such term, provided, however, that if such vacancy occurs in a year, or within ninety days prior to a year, in which elections, except special elections, covered by the voluntary system of campaign finance reform are scheduled, then a member shall be appointed by the board to serve for the remainder of the unexpired term, if additional time remains in such term, if the mayor or the speaker, as appropriate, shall fail to appoint a member within ninety days of such vacancy. Except for the chairperson, such member shall not be enrolled in the same political party as the other member appointed by the official who failed to so appoint. Each member shall be a resident of the city, registered to vote therein. Each member shall agree not to make contributions to any candidate, for nomination for election, or election, to the office of mayor, public advocate, comptroller, borough president, or member of the council which in the aggregate are in excess of the maximum contribution applicable to such office pursuant to any local law establishing a voluntary system of campaign finance reform. No member shall serve as an officer of a political party, or be a candidate, or participate in any capacity in a campaign by a candidate, for nomination for election or election to the office of mayor, public advocate, comptroller, borough president or member of the city council. Officers and employees of the city or any city agency, lobbyists required to file a statement of registration under section 3-213 of the administrative code and the employees of such lobbyists shall not be eligible to be members of the board. In appointing members to the board, the mayor and the speaker shall consider campaign experience in general and particularly campaign experience with the New York city campaign finance system. Members of the board shall be required to undergo training developed pursuant to paragraph 14 of this section.

2. The members of the board shall be compensated at the rate of one hundred dollars per calendar day when performing the work of the board.

3. The board may employ necessary staff, including an executive director and a counsel, and make necessary expenditures subject to appropriation.

4. No member of the campaign finance board shall be removed from office except for cause and upon notice and hearing.

5. The board shall have the power to investigate all matters relating to the performance of its functions and any other matter relating to the proper administration of any voluntary system of campaign finance reform established by local law and for such purposes shall have the power to require the attendance and examine and take the testimony under oath of such persons as it shall deem necessary and to require the production of books, accounts, papers and other evidence relative to such investigation. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the investigative and adjudicatory powers and functions of the staff to the board shall be separate and no staff member of the board shall perform both investigative and adjudicatory tasks or functions.

6. The board shall publicize, as it deems appropriate, the names of candidates for nomination or election to the office of mayor, public advocate, comptroller, borough president, or city council who violate any of the provisions of any voluntary system of campaign finance reform established by local law.

7. The board may render advisory opinions with respect to questions arising under any local law establishing a voluntary system of campaign finance reform. Such advisory opinions may be rendered on the written request of a candidate, an officer of a political committee or member of the public, or may be rendered on its own initiative. The board shall make public its advisory opinions. The board shall develop a program for informing candidates and the public as to the purpose and effect of the provisions of any voluntary system of campaign finance reform established by local law.

8. The board shall have the authority to promulgate such rules and provide such forms as it deems necessary for the administration of any voluntary system of campaign finance reform established by local law. The board shall promulgate regulations concerning the form in which contributions and expenditures are to be reported, the periods during which such reports must be filed and the verification required. The board shall require the filing of reports of contributions and expenditures for purposes of determining compliance with any contribution or expenditure limitations provided in any local law establishing a voluntary system of campaign finance reform, provided that the schedule established by the board for such filings shall be in accordance with the schedule specified by the state board of elections for the filing of campaign receipt and expenditure statements.

9. The board shall develop a computer data base that shall contain all information necessary for the proper administration of this chapter including information on contributions to and expenditures by candidates and their authorized committees and distributions of moneys from the campaign finance fund. Such data base shall be accessible to the public.

10. The board may take such other actions as are necessary and proper to carry out the purposes of any local law establishing a voluntary system of campaign finance reform. If at any time, the board determines that the amount of money in any special fund or funds established by any such local law, establishing a voluntary system of campaign finance reform, to fund a system of optional public campaign financing for candidates abiding by the requirements of such law, is insufficient, or is likely to be insufficient, for payment to such participating candidates pursuant to such law for elections to be held in perpetuity, it shall report this determination to the commissioner of finance, along with its estimate of the additional amount which will be necessary to provide such participating candidates with financing pursuant to such law and a detailed statement of the assumptions and methodologies on which such estimate is based. Not more than four days after receiving such estimate and supporting materials, the commissioner of finance shall transfer an amount equal to such estimate from the general fund to such special fund or funds. All monies transferred to such special fund or funds shall not be considered revenues of the city and payments from such fund or funds shall be made without appropriation and shall not be included in the expense budget of the city. The comptroller shall have custody of such fund or funds on behalf of the board and shall have the power to invest the moneys of such funds or funds in the manner in which the city is authorized to invest its funds and shall deposit the moneys of the fund or funds in such deposit banks as have been designated by the banking commission pursuant to section fifteen hundred twenty-four of this chapter. The comptroller shall submit monthly reports to the board regarding the status of the fund or funds and more frequent reports when the board requires. Monies of the fund or funds shall be paid out by the comptroller only on warrant of the board.

11. The board shall have the authority to implement any system established for the regulation of inauguration and transition donations and expenditures including the promulgation of rules and regulations and the imposition of any penalties related thereto, as required by local law.

12.  (a) The board shall require that candidates participating in the voluntary system of campaign finance reform or candidates who otherwise

file disclosure reports with the board shall disclose to the board the acceptance of campaign contributions from individuals and entities doing business with the city. The board shall promulgate such rules as it deems necessary to implement and administer this provision and provide that information regarding such contributions shall be accessible to the public. The board shall also promulgate such rules as it deems necessary to regulate the acceptance by candidates participating in the voluntary system of campaign finance reform of campaign contributions from individuals and entities doing business with the city, including rules that determine which business dealings shall be covered by such rules. Elected officials, city agencies, boards and commissions, including the mayor, comptroller, public advocate, borough presidents, the city council and members of the city council shall cooperate with the board to provide to the board such information about such individuals and entities as the board shall require.

(b) The board shall promulgate such rules as it deems necessary to attribute expenditures that indirectly assist or benefit a candidate participating in the voluntary system of campaign finance reform as in-kind contributions to such candidate.

(c) In promulgating rules pursuant to this paragraph, the board shall consider the following criteria: (1) the effectiveness of the voluntary system of campaign finance reform, (2) the costs of such system, (3) the maintenance of a reasonable balance between the burdens of such system and the incentives to candidates to participate in such system.

(d) Any rules promulgated pursuant to this paragraph shall apply only with respect to nomination for election, or election, to the office of mayor, public advocate, comptroller, borough president, or member of the city council.

(e) Proposed rules promulgated pursuant to this paragraph shall be published in accordance with subdivision b of section one thousand forty-three of this charter no later than December thirty-first, nineteen hundred ninety-nine. Final rules promulgated pursuant to this paragraph shall be adopted in accordance with such section as soon as practicable thereafter. Final rules adopted in the initial promulgation of rules pursuant to this paragraph shall supersede any inconsistent provisions of the administrative code that are in effect on the effective date of such final rules.


13. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the board shall prohibit candidates for offices covered by the voluntary system of campaign finance reform from accepting, either directly or indirectly, a campaign contribution, loan, guarantee or other security for such loan, from any corporation. The board shall promulgate such rules as it deems necessary to implement and administer this provision.1

14.2 The council and the mayor, in conjunction with the campaign finance board, shall develop a curriculum to be used to train members of the campaign finance board and staff. Such curriculum shall include the issues and problems confronted by campaigns for covered office and how the application and enforcement of the city's campaign finance laws impacts these campaigns.

15. (a) For purposes of this paragraph, the following terms shall have the following meanings:


(i) "Independent expenditure" shall mean a monetary or in-kind expenditure made, or liability incurred, in support of or in opposition to a candidate in a covered election or municipal ballot proposal or referendum, where no candidate, nor any agent or political committee authorized by a candidate, has authorized, requested, suggested, fostered or cooperated in any such activity. The term "independent expenditure" shall not include: (1) the value of services provided without compensation by individuals who volunteer a portion or all of their time, (2) the use of real or personal property and the cost of invitations, food and beverages voluntarily provided by an individual, to the extent such services do not exceed five hundred dollars in value, (3) the travel expenses of any individual who on his or her own behalf volunteers his or her personal services, to the extent such expenses are unreimbursed and do not exceed five hundred dollars in value, (4) any expenditure made, or liability incurred, that is considered to be a contribution to a candidate under any provision of this charter or local law, or under any rule promulgated by the board, and (5) any communication by a labor or other membership organization aimed at its members, or by a corporation aimed at its stockholders. This exemption does not apply to party committees, constituted committees, political clubs, or other entities organized primarily for the purpose of influencing elections. For purposes of this subparagraph:

  1. "member" shall mean (I) any individual who, pursuant to a specific provision of an organization's articles or bylaws, has the right to vote directly or indirectly for the election of a director or directors or an officer or officers or on a disposition of all or substantially all of the assets of the organization or on a merger or on a dissolution; (II) any individual who is designated in the articles or bylaws as a member and, pursuant to a specific provision of an organization's articles or bylaws, has the right to vote on changes to the articles or bylaws, or pays or has paid membership dues in an amount predetermined by the organization so long as the organization is tax exempt under section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986; or (III) any individual who resides within the same household as a "member" as defined in this paragraph;
  2. members of a local union shall be considered to be members of any national or international union of which the local union is a part and of any federation with which the local, national or international union is affiliated; and
  3. "stockholder" shall mean any individual who has a vested beneficial interest in stock, has the power to direct how that stock shall be voted, if it is voting stock, and has the right to receive dividends, or any individual who resides within the same household as a "stockholder" as defined in this paragraph.

(6) any de minimis, incidental communication by a labor or other membership organization or corporation with non-members or non-stockholders, provided that the labor or other membership organization or corporation uses reasonable efforts to restrict the communication to its members or stockholders.

(ii) "Entity" shall mean any corporation, limited liability company, partnership, limited liability partnership, political committee, political party or party committee, employee organization or labor organization, association, club, or other organization (iii) "Covered election" shall mean any primary, run-off primary, special, run-off special or general election for nomination for election, or election, to the office of mayor, public advocate, comptroller, borough president or member of the city council. (ii) "Entity" shall mean any corporation, limited liability company, partnership, limited liability partnership, political committee, political party or party committee, employee organization or labor organization, association, club, or other organization. (iii) "Covered election" shall mean any primary, run-off primary, special, run-off special or general election for nomination for election, or election, to the office of mayor, public advocate, comptroller, borough president or member of the city council.


(b) Every individual and entity that makes independent expenditures aggregating one thousand dollars or more in support of or in opposition to any candidate in any covered election, or in support of or in opposition to any municipal ballot proposal or referendum, shall be required to disclose such expenditure to the board. In addition, every entity that, in the twelve months preceding a covered election, makes independent expenditures aggregating five thousand dollars or more in support of or in opposition to any candidate in any covered election shall disclose the following: (i) the identity of any entity that, on or after the first day of the calendar year preceding the covered election, contributed to the entity reporting the expenditure, and the owners, partners, board members, and officers, or their equivalents, of such contributing entity, or, if no individuals exist in any such roles, the name of at least one individual who exercises control over the activities of such contributing entity; (ii) the identity of any entity or individual who, in the twelve months preceding the covered election, contributed twenty-five thousand dollars or more to any entity that, in the twelve months preceding the covered election, contributed fifty thousand dollars or more to the entity reporting the expenditure; and (iii) the identity of any individual who, in the twelve months preceding the covered election, contributed one thousand dollars or more to the entity reporting the expenditure.

(c) Any literature, advertisement or other communication in support of or in opposition to any candidate in any covered election that is paid for by an individual or entity making independent expenditures aggregating one thousand dollars or more shall, in addition to any applicable disclosure requirements in state law, disclose information as follows:

(i) on any written, typed, or printed communication, or on any internet text or graphical advertisement, in a conspicuous size and style, the words "Paid for by" followed by the name of the individual or the name of the entity, the name of its owner, if any, and the name of its chief executive officer or equivalent, if any, and, following the words "Top Three Donors," a list of the three largest aggregate donors to such entity in the twelve months preceding the election, except that no donor that contributed less than five thousand dollars to the disclosing entity in the twelve months preceding the election shall be included in such disclosure, and except that if such entity has only one or two donors that contributed at least five thousand dollars the words "Top Three Donors" shall be replaced by the words "Top Donor" or "Top Donors" as applicable, and except that expenditures funded by an individual or where no such donors exist need not include the words "Top Three Donors" or a list of donors, and except that this clause shall not apply to communications required to include a disclosure pursuant to subdivision sixteen of section 3-703 of the administrative code. If the third largest donor to the disclosing entity has donated the same amount in the twelve months preceding the election as the fourth largest donor during such period, such entity may choose which three donors to include so long as no donor is included that has donated less in the twelve months preceding the election than any other donor that is not included. Such written disclosures shall further include, in a conspicuous size and style, the following words: "More information at nyc.gov/FollowTheMoney." The board may, at its discretion, designate a website other than nyc.gov/FollowTheMoney as the website that must be included in such disclosure. All disclosures required by this clause shall be enclosed in a box within the borders of the communication or advertisement that contains only those disclosures required by this subparagraph, the rules of the board, the election law, or any other applicable law or rule. For the purposes of this clause, the "owner" of an entity shall be an individual or entity with a greater than fifty percent ownership interest in such entity. The disclosures required by this clause shall not apply to bumper stickers, pins, buttons, pens, and similar small items upon which such disclosures cannot be reasonably printed;

(ii) on any paid television advertisement or paid internet video advertisement, clearly spoken in a pitch and tone substantially similar to the rest of the advertisement, at the beginning or end of the advertisement, the words "paid for by" followed by the name of the individual or the name of the entity, and, in a conspicuous size and style simultaneous with such spoken disclosure, the written words "Paid for by" followed by the name of the individual or the name of the entity, followed by the words "The top three donors to the organization responsible for this advertisement are," followed by a list of the three largest aggregate donors to such entity in the twelve months preceding the election, except that no donor that contributed less than five thousand dollars to the disclosing entity in the twelve months preceding the election shall be included in such disclosure, and except that if such entity has only one or two donors that contributed at least five thousand dollars the words "top three donors" shall be replaced by the words "top donor" or "top donors" as applicable, and except that expenditures funded by an individual or where no such donors exist need not include the words "The top three donors to the organization responsible for this advertisement are" or a list of donors, and except that this clause shall not apply to communications required to include a disclosure pursuant to subdivision sixteen of section 3-703 of the administrative code. If the third largest donor to the disclosing entity has donated the same amount in the twelve months preceding the election as the fourth largest donor during such period, such entity may choose which three donors to include so long as no donor is included that has donated less in the twelve months preceding the election than any other donor that is not included. Such written disclosures shall further include, in a conspicuous size and style, the following words: "More information at nyc.gov/FollowTheMoney." The board may, at its discretion, designate a website other than nyc.gov/FollowTheMoney as the website that must be included in such disclosure. All written disclosures required by this clause shall be enclosed in a box that contains only those disclosures required by this subparagraph, the rules of the board, the election law, or any other applicable law or rule;

(iii) in any paid radio advertisement, paid internet audio advertisement, or automated telephone call, clearly spoken in a pitch and tone substantially similar to the rest of the advertisement or call, at the end of the advertisement or call, the words "paid for by" followed by the name of the individual or the name of the entity, followed by the words "with funding provided by," followed by a list of the three largest aggregate donors to such entity in the twelve months preceding the election, except that no donor that contributed less than five thousand dollars to the disclosing entity in the twelve months preceding the election shall be included in such disclosure, and except that expenditures funded by an individual or where no such donors exist need not include the words "with funding provided by" or a list of donors, and except that this clause shall not apply to communications required to include a disclosure pursuant to subdivision sixteen of section 3-703 of the administrative code. If the third largest donor to the disclosing entity has donated the same amount in the twelve months preceding the election as the fourth largest donor during such period, such entity may choose which three donors to include so long as no donor is included that has donated less in the twelve months preceding the election than any other donor that is not included. In the case of a radio or internet audio advertisement covered by this clause that is thirty seconds in duration or shorter, the clearly spoken words "more information at nyc.gov/FollowTheMoney" may be included in a pitch and tone substantially similar to the rest of the advertisement, instead of the words "with funding provided by" followed by a list of the three largest aggregate donors in the twelve months preceding the election. The board may, at its discretion, designate a website other than nyc.gov/FollowTheMoney as the website that must be included in such disclosure; and

(iv) in any non-automated telephone call, clearly spoken during any such call lasting longer than ten seconds, the words "this call is paid for by," followed by the name of the individual or the name of the entity, followed by the words "more information is available at nyc.gov/FollowTheMoney." The board may, at its discretion, designate a website other than nyc.gov/FollowTheMoney as the website that must be included in such disclosure.

(v) For communications primarily in languages other than English for which disclosure is required under this subparagraph, such disclosure shall be in the primary language of the communication instead of English, except that the web address nyc.gov/FollowTheMoney, or such other website as the board has designated, if required to be written or spoken in such disclosure, shall be in English.


(d) The board may, upon notice and opportunity to be heard, assess civil penalties in an amount not in excess of ten thousand dollars for each violation of this paragraph. The intentional or knowing violation of this paragraph shall be punishable as a misdemeanor in addition to any other penalty provided under law.

(e) The board shall promulgate rules concerning the form and manner in which independent expenditures are to be reported and disclosed, the information to be reported and disclosed, the periods during which reports must be filed, and the verification required. The board shall promulgate such additional rules as it deems necessary to implement, administer, interpret and enforce this paragraph and shall provide in such rules that information regarding independent expenditures be promptly made accessible to the public during the covered election cycle.

b. 1. The board shall take such actions as it deems necessary and appropriate to improve public awareness of the candidates, ballot proposals or referenda in all elections in which there are contested elections for the offices of mayor, public advocate, borough presidents, comptroller, or city council or ballot proposals or referenda pursuant to this charter or the municipal home rule law, including but not necessarily limited to the publication of a non-partisan, impartial voter guide in at least one media format providing information on candidates, ballot proposals and referenda, and the distribution of one copy of such guide to each household in which there is at least one registered voter eligible to vote in the election involved. A voter may opt out of receiving a printed copy of such guide and the board shall comply with this request to the extent feasible.

2. The board shall also take such actions as it deems necessary and appropriate to improve public awareness of the candidates in all other contested elections held in the city of New York for any city, county, state, or federal office or ballot proposals or referenda pursuant to city, county, state, or federal law, including but not necessarily limited to the publication of a non-partisan, impartial voter guide in at least one media format providing information on such candidates, ballot proposals or referenda. The board shall coordinate with other agencies in general and specialized efforts to improve public awareness of such candidates, proposals, or referenda.

3. In any year in which the board publishes a voter guide pursuant to paragraph 1 of this subdivision, if the board determines that the amount of money in its budget is insufficient or likely to be insufficient for the publication and distribution of such guide, it shall report such determination to the director of the office of management and budget, who, after consultation with the board, shall, without an appropriation, transfer to the board a reasonable amount, as the director shall determine, to cover the cost of publishing and distributing such guide; provided however, that for any election in any district in which (i) there are no contested elections for the office of mayor, public advocate, borough president, comptroller or city council, and (ii) there has been no administrative action, or determination of a court of final, competent jurisdiction, to include a ballot proposal or referendum at such election sixty days or more prior to the date of such election, the board shall not publish or distribute a printed copy of such guide, but shall instead make available to the public on its website information to the extent practicable regarding any proposal or referendum that is to be included on the ballot.

c. The board shall, not later than March tenth of each year, approve and submit to the mayor detailed itemized estimates of the financial needs of the campaign finance board for the ensuing fiscal year. Such estimates shall be comprised of at least one personal service unit of appropriation and at least one other than personal service unit of appropriation. The mayor shall include such estimates in the executive budget without revision, but with such recommendations as the mayor may deem proper. Upon inclusion in the executive budget, the budget submitted by the campaign finance board shall be adopted pursuant to such provisions of chapter ten of this charter as are applicable to the operating budget of the council.

d. The board may take such other actions as are necessary and proper to carry out any other authority the city council shall give to the board in any local law, including the promulgation of any rules and the provision of any forms.

e. The board shall take such actions as it deems necessary and appropriate to encourage, promote, and facilitate voter registration and voting by all residents of New York City who are eligible to vote, including, but not necessarily limited to the employment of a coordinator of voter assistance and other necessary staff. The board shall have authority to promulgate rules in order to implement the voter assistance provisions of this chapter, except that any rules with respect to city agency operations concerning voter registration and voting, including but not limited to implementation of section one thousand fifty-seven-a, shall be promulgated in conjunction with the office of the mayor through its office of operations.

ENDNOTES

1 This language represents a reconciliation of language included in Local Law No. 58 of 2004 and Local Law No. 60 of 2004. Local Law No. 58 of 2004 includes the following language:

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the board shall prohibit candidates participating in the voluntary system of campaign finance reform from accepting, either directly or indirectly, a campaign contribution, loan, guarantee or other security for such loan, from any corporation. The board shall promulgate such rules as it deems necessary to implement and administer this provision.

Local Law No. 60 of 2004 includes the following language:

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the board shall prohibit candidates for offices covered by the voluntary system of campaign finance reform from accepting, either directly or indirectly, a campaign contribution, loan, guarantee or other security for such loan, from any corporation. The board shall promulgate such rules as it deems necessary to implement and administer this provision.

2 This section, added by Local Law No. 34 of 2007, was originally numbered "14.a."