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Advisory Opinion 1988-1 (December 2, 1988)

SUMMARY

Whether 1988 expenditures for a 1989 election, covered by the 1988 expenditure limit, are also subject to the 1989 expenditure limits.


FULL TEXT

An opinion has been requested whether 1988 expenditures for a 1989 election, covered by the limitation on expenditures for the year preceding the election year (New York City Administrative Code §3-706(2)), are also subject to the expenditure limitations set forth in New York City Administrative Code §3-706(1) (dollar limitations for primary and general elections in 1989).

The opening paragraph of Administrative Code §3-706(1) and paragraph (a) of that subdivision provide:

The following limitations apply to all expenditures made by a candidate and his or her authorized committees on or after the first day of January preceding the election for which such candidate chooses to participate in the public funding provisions of this chapter and to expenditures made at any time prior to such date for services, materials, facilities, advertising or other things of value received, rendered, published, distributed or broadcast on or after such date:

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this subdivision, in each primary election and in each general election, expenditures by an eligible candidate for one of the following offices and his or her authorized committees shall not exceed the following amounts:

mayor:  $3,000,000
president of the city council
or comptroller:  $1,750,000
borough president:  $625,000
member of the city council:  $60,000

(Emphasis added). Subdivision two of Administrative Code §3-706(2) provides:

The following limitations apply to all expenditures made by a candidate and his or her authorized committees in the calendar year preceding the year of the election for which such candidate chooses to participate in the public funding provisions of this chapter and to expenditures made at any time prior to such date for services, materials, facilities, advertising or other things of value received, rendered, published, distributed or broadcast in such calendar year. Such expenditures by such a candidate for one of the following offices and his or her authorized committees shall not exceed the following amounts:

mayor,
president of the city council or comptroller:$150,000
borough president:$100,000
member of the city council:$ 50,000

(Emphasis added). As the emphasized language makes clear, these two expenditure limitations are mutually exclusive.

It is therefore the opinion of the Board that a 1988 expenditure for a 1989 election would be subject to the §3-706(2) limitation and not to the §3-706(1) limitation 1. Likewise, a 1989 expenditure for a 1989 election would not be subject to the §3-706(2) limitation, although it would be subject to the §3-706(1) limitation. A separate issue — determining whether a particular expenditure is a 1988 or 1989 expenditure — is a question of fact beyond the scope of this opinion.

NEW YORK CITY CAMPAIGN FINANCE BOARD

1Administrative Code §3-706(1) (c) provides:

Expenditures by eligible candidates in a primary election made prior to or on the date of such primary election shall be deemed to have been made for such primary election.

It is the view of the Board that this provision concerns the distinction between expenditures for a primary and a general election, rather than the distinction between the §3-706(1) and §3-706(2) limitations.

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