Money in Politics in New York, August 2 Edition

August 2, 2013

Reposted with permission from The Brennan Center. Money in Politics is a series which regularly compiles the latest news concerning the corrosive nature of money in New York State politics — and the ongoing need for public financing and robust campaign finance reform.

Common Cause/NY Examines Fracking Contributions
A new analysis by Common Cause/NY illustrates that millions of dollars have flowed from fracking interests in New York to state and local campaigns. The investigation reveals that from January, 2007, to March, 2013, these interests – totaling 183 entities –contributed over $14 million to state and local campaigns. The money seems to follow the party in power. In the Senate, the ruling coalition of Republican and Independent Democratic Conference candidates received $2.22 million, while Senate Democratic candidates received $496,063. Assembly Democratic candidates got $784,942, compared to $439,617 for Assembly Republican candidates. The Fair Elections for New York coalition has called on Gov. Cuomo’s Commission to Investigate Public Corruption to subpoena information related to contributions in order to explore the transactions involved.

NYC Campaign Finance Board Releases New Database
The New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB) has released new versions of its searchable campaign finance database as well as summaries of campaign expenditures and contributions. New rules adopted by the Campaign Finance Board require independent spenders to disclose expenditures above $100 and certain contributions above $1,000 to the CFB. The searchable database allows users to search through individual contributions, campaign expenditures and independent expenditures via filters such as recipient, contributor and transaction type. In addition, a summary page enables users to access an overview of campaign spending, independent expenditures, and public funds received for all citywide, borough president, and city council races.  Amy Loprest, executive director of the CFB, stated that“With the elections just around the corner, we hope these improved online disclosure tolls will help make more New Yorkers into better informed voters.”

Public Matching Funds in NYC Amplify Voices of Small Donors
New York City’s public financing program provides matching funds for candidates who can raise a certain number of small-dollar contributions from constituents in their district. Data from the latest disclosure filings show the effectiveness of the program during this election cycle. Thus far in 2013, candidates have collected more than $8.7 million from small donors – those contributing less than $250. This accounts for a 51 percent increase in small donations compared to the last election cycle in 2009. Donors giving less than $250 constituted 74 percent of all contributors in this year’s elections. Much of the credit for the extensive participation of small donors can be attributed to the 6-to-1 match New York City provides for the first $175 donated.