Appendix A: Ethical Guidelines for the New York City Campaign Finance Board

The New York City Campaign Finance Board has determined that the conduct of its members and staff should be guided by the Ethical Guidelines that follow. In establishing guidelines, the Board recognizes that some of its members and staff may be subject to additional professional codes, such as the Lawyer's Code of Professional Responsibility. In addition, the standards set forth in the New York City Campaign Finance Act (Admin. Code §§ 3-701, et seq.) and in New York City Charter Chapters 46 and 68 are applicable to all Board members and staff. To give greatest effect to its mandate as a non-partisan entity, treating all candidates equally, operating without regard to party affiliation or relationship to any candidate or appointing authority, and to deflect external partisan pressures, these Guidelines establish standards of behavior that go beyond legal and professional obligations in order to ensure the highest degree of public confidence in the work of the Board.

Definitions

  • Except as otherwise provided, “candidate” means a candidate for nomination for election, or election, to the office of mayor, public advocate, comptroller, borough president, or member of the City Council.
  • Except as otherwise provided, “elected official” means a person holding office as mayor, public advocate, comptroller, borough president, or member of the City Council.
  • “Family member” means parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, or the spouse of any of these persons.
  • “Gift” shall have the same meaning as the term “valuable gift,” as used in New York City Charter §2605(b)(5) and defined by rule of the Conflicts of Interest Board (53 RCNY §1-01).

General Guidelines

  1. Full time Board staff shall not engage in the private practice of their professions, including the practice of law, unless specifically authorized to do so by the Chairman of the Board.
  2. Board members and staff shall not accept or agree to accept any gift from any person whose interests might reasonably be expected to be affected by the official actions of the Board.

Political Conduct

  1. Board members and staff shall not:
    1. serve as officers of political parties, including members of the national or state committee of a political party, assembly district leader, or chair or officer of the county committee or county executive committee of a political party, or as candidates.
    2. make contributions to, or directly or indirectly request any person to make or pay any political assessment, subscription or contribution for, any candidate for an elective office of the city or for any elected official who is a candidate for any elective office.
    3. either directly or indirectly, voluntarily or for compensation, assist, counsel, advise, or otherwise perform work for any candidate, or any agent of such candidate, except for purposes of implementing the requirements of the New York City Campaign Finance Act and New York City Charter Chapter 46 in the course of his or her official duties at the Campaign Finance Board.
    4. sign a designating or nominating petition for any candidate.

Recusal

  1. Board members and staff must recuse themselves from matters under consideration by the Board in which: 
    1. they have any financial or business interest or relationship, or any other interest or relationship, that might impair the conscientious performance of their duties;
    2. any other circumstance is present, including personal bias or prejudice, that raises an impediment to the conscientious performance of their duties.

Disclosure

  1. Board members and staff must disclose to the Board:
    1. Any direct or indirect relationship to or interest in any matter under consideration by the Board.
    2. Any current or past relationship with a candidate, witness, lawyer, or other party involved in any matter under consideration by the Board.
    3. Any interest or relationship he or she knows of concerning any matter under consideration by the Board, or concerning a candidate, witness, or other party involved in any such matter, of a spouse, family member, or person residing in his or her household, including, but not limited to:
      1. a business or social relationship with a candidate or an agent of a candidate;
      2. accepting any gift from any person whose interests might reasonably be expected to be affected by the official actions of the Board; and
      3. making contributions to or performing work for any candidate or an agent of a candidate.
    4. Any New York City, local government, or political party office he or she currently holds or seeks, or is appointed or nominated to, or held or sought by a spouse, family member, or person residing in his or her household and any such office to which such person is appointed or nominated.
    5. Any relationship or interest that is likely to create an appearance of impropriety in connection with the Board’s work, including, but not limited to:
      1. any current or previous business or social relationship with a candidate or any agent of a candidate;
      2. membership in a political club;
      3. holding office or serving as a member of any committee in any partisan political organization or association or serving as a delegate to any political convention;
      4. intent to attend and attendance at any event, party, or other gathering sponsored by a political party, political committee, or political club; and
      5. intent to attend and attendance at any event, party, or other gathering that he or she knows or has reason to believe is intended to directly or indirectly aid or defeat a candidate including, but not limited to events, parties, or gatherings at which funds are solicited or collected, rallies, election day events, campaign worker events, and inauguration events. Disclosure of attendance at non-partisan political events or inaugurations is not required.
  1. Disclosure will be deemed made when given in writing to the Executive Director.
  2. All matters subject to disclosure will be filed in a manner to be established by the Ethical Guidelines Committee at the Board and available to the general public, except insofar as disclosure would compromise the confidentiality of a pending investigation or would violate basic principles of fairness to those involved in the matter, in which case disclosure shall be made only to the Chairman and such other Board members and staff as the Chair determines.

Confidentiality

  1. Board members and staff shall not disclose confidential information acquired during the course of the Board’s work without approval of the Board.

Exemptions

  1. The Ethical Guidelines Committee, consisting of the Chair of the Board, a second Board member designated by the Chair, and a staff member designated by the Chair, shall have the power to grant exemptions from provisions of the Ethical Guidelines if in the judgment of the Committee such exemptions will not compromise the work of the Board, and imposition of the provisions of the Ethical Guidelines would otherwise pose an unreasonable hardship. A record shall be kept of any exceptions granted, the reasons therefore, and protective measures, if any, that the Ethical Guidelines Committee determines must be taken to ensure that the purposes of the Ethical Guidelines are fulfilled.

March 9, 2017

Frederick P. Schaffer, Chair
Art C. Chang
Richard J. Davis
Mark Piazza
Naomi B. Zauderer