Bill S44-2011

Decreases contribution limits; repealer

Reduces campaign contributions limits for candidates for election to public office or party position.

Details

Actions

  • Mar 12, 2012: COMMITTEE DISCHARGED AND COMMITTED TO RULES
  • Feb 27, 2012: NOTICE OF COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION - REQUESTED
  • Jan 4, 2012: REFERRED TO ELECTIONS
  • Jan 5, 2011: REFERRED TO ELECTIONS

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S44

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the election law, in relation to decreasing contribution limitations; and to repeal subdivision 3 of section 14-124 of the election law relating thereto

PURPOSE OF BILL: To reduce campaign contributions limits for candidates for election to public office or party position.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 of the bill amends subdivision 1 of section 14-114 of the election law, as amended by chapter 79 of the laws of 1992, paragraphs a and b as amended by chapter 659 of the laws of 1994, to lower contribution limits for individuals or political action committees in state and local elections as follows: statewide candidates from $18,000 for primary and $37,800 for general election to $5,000 for per election, i.e., $10,000 total; Senate candidates from $6,000 for primary and $9,500 for general election to $2,400 per election, i.e., $4,800 total; for Assembly candidates from $3,800 for primary and $3,800 for general election to $2,400 for each, i.e., $4,800 total; and for local candidates, depending on office sought (except for candidates for mayor, comptroller, public advocate, borough president or city council participating in New York City's public financing program), ranges from $1,000 to $3,000 depending on the number of enrolled voters on active status in the district. Beginning in 2012, contribution limits will be adjusted annually to the nearest $100, based on the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers as published by U.S. Department of Labor.

Individual Limits to Current Law Bill Reduction Candidates Per Election Cycle (also applies to PACs and Labor Organizations)

Statewide Candidates Primary $18,000 $ 5,000 72% General Election $37,800 $ 5,000 87% Total $55,800 $10,000 82%

Senate Candidates Primary $ 6,000 $ 2,400 62% General Election $ 9,500 $ 2,400 76% Total $15,500 $ 4,800 70%

Assembly Candidates Primary $ 3,800 $ 2,400 39% General Election $ 3,800 $ 2,400 39% Total $ 7,600 $ 4,800 39%

Local Candidates Depending on Office Sought

Ranged From Ranges From $1,000 $1,000 to to

$55,000 $3,000

Section 2 of the bill amends subdivision 8 of section 14-114 of the election law, as amended by chapter 8 of the laws of 1978 and as re-designated by chapter 9 of the laws of 1978, to lower the annual individual aggregate contribution limit to all candidates, political parties and political committees from $150,000 to $25,000.

Aggregate Limits in a Current Law Bill Calendar Year to Candidates and Committees

Individuals $150,000 $25,000 83% Corporations $ 5,000 $ 5,000 Same

Section 3 of the bill amends subdivision 10 of section 14-114 of the election law, as added by chapter 79 of the laws of 1992, to lower the annual aggregate contribution to political parties from $94,200 to $25,000.

Aggregate Limits in a Current Law Bill Calendar Year to Party Committees

Individuals $94,200 $25,000 73%

Labor Organizations $94,200 $25,000 73%

PACs $94,200 $25,000 73%

Section 4 of the bill repeals subdivision 3 of section 14-124 of the election law in order to eliminate the ability to contribute unlimited sums to so-called party committee "housekeeping accounts."

Section 5 of the bill establishes the effective date.

JUSTIFICATION: It is widely believed that New York's campaign finance laws need substantial revision to ensure the integrity of elections in the state. This bill addresses one of the ways that New York's laws differ significantly from the laws of other states that regulate campaign contributions: the extremely high contributions that may be given to candidates. For example, presently, a single contributor may give up to $55,900 to a statewide candidate during a single election cycle ($18,100 for the primary and $37,800 for the general election). This figure is the highest among any of the 45 states that place limits on campaign contributions. A single contributor can donate up to $15,500 to a candidate for the New York State Senate. This bill would, among other provisions, reduce the allowable contribution amount to a candidate for Governor to $5,000 for the primary and $5,000 for the general election for a total of $10,000; and would reduce the contribution limit for the state legislature to $2,400 for both the primary and the general election, for a total of $4,800.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2009-10: S.4549C (Squadron) - Elections, A.08753 (Kavanagh) Election Law

FISCAL IMPACT ON THE STATE:

None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after it shall have become law; provided,that contributions legally received prior to the effective date of this act may be retained and expended for lawful purposes and shall not provide the basis for a violation of article 14 of the election law, as amended by this act; and provided, further, that the state board of elections shall notify all candidates and political committees of the applicable provisions of this act within thirty days after this act shall have become a law.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 44 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 5, 2011 ___________
Introduced by Sen. SQUADRON -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Elections AN ACT to amend the election law, in relation to decreasing contribution limitations; and to repeal subdivision 3 of section 14-124 of the election law relating thereto THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 1 of section 14-114 of the election law, as amended by chapter 79 of the laws of 1992, paragraphs a and b as amended by chapter 659 of the laws of 1994, is amended to read as follows: 1. The following limitations apply to all contributions to candidates for election to any public office or for nomination for any such office, or for election to any party positions, and to all contributions to political committees working directly or indirectly with any candidate to aid or participate in such candidate's nomination or election, other than any contributions to any party committee or constituted committee: a. In any election for a public office to be voted on by the voters of the entire state, or for nomination to any such office, no contributor may make a contribution to any candidate or political committee, and no candidate or political committee may accept any contribution from any contributor, which is in the aggregate amount greater than: (i) in the case of any nomination to public office, the product of the total number of enrolled voters in the candidate's party in the state, excluding voters in inactive status, multiplied by $.005, but such amount shall be not less than four thousand dollars nor more than [twelve] FIVE thousand dollars as increased or decreased by the cost of living adjustment described in paragraph c of this subdivision, and (ii) in the case of any election to a public office, [twenty-five] FIVE thousand dollars as increased or decreased by the cost of living adjustment described in paragraph c of this subdivision[; provided however, that the maximum amount which may be so contributed or accepted, in the aggregate, from any candidate's child, parent, grandparent, brother and sister, and the spouse of any such persons, shall not exceed in the case of any nomi-
nation to public office an amount equivalent to the product of the number of enrolled voters in the candidate's party in the state, exclud- ing voters in inactive status, multiplied by $.025, and in the case of any election for a public office, an amount equivalent to the product of the number of registered voters in the state excluding voters in inac- tive status, multiplied by $.025]
. b. In any other election for party position or for election to a public office or for nomination for any such office, no contributor may make a contribution to any candidate or political committee and no candidate or political committee may accept any contribution from any contributor, which is in the aggregate amount greater than: (i) in the case of any election for party position, or for nomination to public office, the product of the total number of enrolled voters in the candi- date's party in the district in which he is a candidate, excluding voters in inactive status, multiplied by $.05, and (ii) in the case of any election for a public office, the product of the total number of registered voters in the district, excluding voters in inactive status, multiplied by $.05[,]; BUT IN NO EVENT SHALL ANY SUCH MAXIMUM EXCEED THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS OR BE LESS THAN ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS; however in the case of a nomination OR ELECTION within the city of New York for the office of mayor, public advocate [or], comptroller, BOROUGH PRESIDENT OR MEMBER OF THE CITY COUNCIL, such amount shall be [not less than four thousand dollars nor more than twelve thousand dollars as increased or decreased by the cost of living adjustment described in paragraph c of this subdivision; in the case of an election within the city of New York for the office of mayor, public advocate or comptroller, twenty-five thousand dollars as increased or decreased by the cost of living adjust- ment described in paragraph c of this subdivision] EQUAL TO THE CONTRIB- UTION LIMITS SET FORTH IN PARAGRAPH (F) OF SUBDIVISION ONE OF SECTION 3-703 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE CODE OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK; PROVIDED HOWEVER in the case of a nomination OR ELECTION for state senator, [four] TWO thousand FOUR HUNDRED dollars as increased or decreased by the cost of living adjustment described in paragraph c of this subdivi- sion; [in the case of an election for state senator, six thousand two hundred fifty dollars as increased or decreased by the cost of living adjustment described in paragraph c of this subdivision;] in the case of [an election or] A nomination OR ELECTION for a member of the assembly, [twenty-five hundred] TWO THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED dollars as increased or decreased by the cost of living adjustment described in paragraph c of this subdivision[; but in no event shall any such maximum exceed fifty thousand dollars or be less than one thousand dollars; provided however, that the maximum amount which may be so contributed or accepted, in the aggregate, from any candidate's child, parent, grandparent, brother and sister, and the spouse of any such persons, shall not exceed in the case of any election for party position or nomination for public office an amount equivalent to the number of enrolled voters in the candidate's party in the district in which he is a candidate, excluding voters in inactive status, multiplied by $.25 and in the case of any election to public office, an amount equivalent to the number of registered voters in the district, excluding voters in inactive status, multiplied by $.25; or twelve hundred fifty dollars, whichever is greater, or in the case of a nomination or election of a state senator, twenty thousand dollars, whichever is greater, or in the case of a nomination or election of a member of the assembly twelve thousand five hundred dollars, whichever is greater, but in no event shall any such maximum exceed one hundred thousand dollars].
c. At the beginning of each fourth calendar year, commencing in [nine- teen hundred ninety-five] TWO THOUSAND TWELVE, the state board shall determine the percentage of the difference between the [most recent available monthly] consumer price index for all urban consumers published by the United States bureau of labor statistics and such consumer price index published for the same month four years previously. The amount of each contribution limit fixed in this subdivision shall be adjusted by the amount of such percentage difference to the closest one hundred dollars by the state board which, not later than the first day of February in each such year, shall issue a regulation publishing the amount of each such contribution limit. Each contribution limit as so adjusted shall be the contribution limit in effect for any election held before the next such adjustment. S 2. Subdivision 8 of section 14-114 of the election law, as amended by chapter 8 of the laws of 1978 and as redesignated by chapter 9 of the laws of 1978, is amended to read as follows: 8. A. Except as may otherwise be provided [for] BY a candidate [and his family] FOR HIS OR HER OWN CAMPAIGN, no NATURAL person may contrib- ute, loan or guarantee in excess of [one hundred fifty] TWENTY-FIVE thousand dollars within the state OF NEW YORK IN ANY CALENDAR YEAR in connection with the nomination or election of [persons to] CANDIDATES FOR state [and] OR local public offices [and] OR party positions [within the state of New York in any one calendar year]. B. For the purposes of this subdivision "loan" or "guarantee" shall mean a loan or guarantee which is not repaid or discharged in the calen- dar year in which it is made. S 3. Subdivision 10 of section 14-114 of the election law, as added by chapter 79 of the laws of 1992, is amended to read as follows: 10. a. No contributor may make a contribution to a party or consti- tuted committee and no such committee may accept a contribution from any contributor which, in the aggregate, is greater than [sixty-two] TWEN- TY-FIVE thousand [five hundred] dollars per annum. b. At the beginning of each fourth calendar year, commencing in [nine- teen hundred ninety-five] TWO THOUSAND THIRTEEN, the state board shall determine the percentage of the difference between the most recent available monthly consumer price index for all urban consumers published by the United States bureau of labor statistics and such consumer price index published for the same month four years previously. The amount of such contribution limit fixed in paragraph a of this subdivision shall be adjusted by the amount of such percentage difference to the closest one hundred dollars by the state board which, not later than the first day of February in each such year, shall issue a regulation publishing the amount of such contribution limit. Such contribution limit as so adjusted shall be the contribution limit in effect for any election held before the next such adjustment. S 4. Subdivision 3 of section 14-124 of the election law is REPEALED. S 5. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after it shall have become a law; provided, that contributions legally received prior to the effective date of this act may be retained and expended for lawful purposes and shall not provide the basis for a violation of article 14 of the election law, as amended by this act; and provided, further, that the state board of elections shall notify all candidates and political committees of the applicable provisions of this act within thirty days after this act shall have become a law.

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