Bill S54-2011

Relates to uniform maximum contributions for all candidates regardless of position or office

Relates to uniform maximum contributions for all candidates regardless of position or office.

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  • Jan 4, 2012: REFERRED TO ELECTIONS
  • Jan 5, 2011: REFERRED TO ELECTIONS

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S54

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the election law, in relation to contribution limitations

PURPOSE: To reduce campaign contribution limits for candidates for election to a party position or public office or for nomination to public office to $2,400 per election.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: The bill would set campaign contribution limits for candidates for election to any party position or public office or for nomination to any public office at $2,400 per election (or a total of $4,800 for a primary and general election cycle). It would eliminate distinctions between statewide candidates, candidates for Assembly or Senate, or other candidates contributions to whom currently are subject to different limits depending on the office sought. It would also eliminate separate limits that currently apply to family members of candidates.

JUSTIFICATION: It is widely believed that our campaign finance laws need substantial changes to ensure the integrity of elections in our state. This bill does not address the broad range of issues that might be addressed in a comprehensive reform package, but it does address one of weakest aspects of our campaign finance laws: the excessive contributions that individuals can currently make to candidates, especially the extraordinarily high contributions that may be given to statewide candidates, presently a single contributor may give up to $55,900 to a 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. Current limits for Senate candidates are $15,500 per cycle ($6,000 for the primary and $9,500 for the general); Assembly candidates may accept $7,600 per cycle ($3,800 for the primary and $3,800 for the general). In addition, family members of candidates may currently contribute sums that substantially exceed the individual limits (for example, the current limit for family members of statewide candidates is over $250,000 of total contributions from one or more family members).

This bill adopts the federal approach of setting a single limit of $2,400 per election ($4,800 per cycle) for all elections to state or party offices in the state, irrespective of the size of the area a candidate is running in. In this way, candidates attempting to communicate and persuade larger numbers of people and broader constituencies would be required to raise the funds necessary for their campaigns from a greater number of people rather then simply relying on increasingly large contributors.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2009: A.00656 (Kavanagh) - Election Law 2008: A.09095 (Kavanagh) - Election Law

2007: A.09095 (Kavanagh) - Election Law 2010: S.7061 (Squadron) - Elections, A.656-A - (Kavanagh) - Elections.

FISCAL IMPACT ON THE STATE: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the first of January next succeeding the date on which it shall have become law.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 54 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 contribution limita- tions 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 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 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, however in the case of a nomination within the city of New York for the office of mayor, public advocate or comptroller, 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 adjustment described in paragraph c of this subdivision; in the case of a nomination for state senator, four thousand dollars as increased or decreased by the cost of living adjust- ment described in paragraph c of this subdivision; 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 nomi- nation for a member of the assembly, twenty-five 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, grand- parent, 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 great- er, or in the case of a nomination or election of a state senator, twen- ty thousand dollars, whichever is greater, or in the case of a nomi- nation 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.]
A. NO CONTRIBUTOR MAY MAKE A CONTRIBUTION TO ANY CANDIDATE FOR ELECTION TO ANY PUBLIC OFFICE OR FOR NOMINATION FOR ANY SUCH OFFICE, OR FOR ELECTION TO ANY PARTY POSITIONS, OR MAKE ANY CONTRIBUTION TO POLITICAL COMMITTEES WORKING DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY WITH ANY CANDIDATE TO AID OR PARTICIPATE IN SUCH CANDIDATE'S
NOMINATION OR ELECTION, AND NO CANDIDATE OR POLITICAL COMMITTEE MAY ACCEPT ANY CONTRIBUTION FROM ANY CONTRIBUTOR, WHICH, IN THE AGGREGATE AMOUNT, IS GREATER THAN TWO THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS, AS INCREASED OR DECREASED BY THE COST OF LIVING ADJUSTMENT DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH B OF THIS SUBDIVISION. [c.] B. At the beginning of each fourth calendar year, commencing in nineteen hundred ninety-five, 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. This act shall take effect on the first of January next succeed- ing the date on which it shall have become a law.

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