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1988-6: Carrying Over Unspent Portion of a Primary Election Contribution to the General Election

December 30, 1988

An opinion has been requested whether a candidate may carry over, for expenditure in the general election, the unspent portion of a contribution accepted from a contributor for a primary election, if that candidate has also accepted the maximum permissible contribution from that contributor for the general election.

Section §3-703(1) (f) of the New York City Administrative Code prohibits a candidate from accepting:

any contribution or contributions from any one individual, corporation, partnership, political committee, employee organization or other entity for each election in which he or she seeks to be qualified as an eligible candidate which in the aggregate: (i) for the office of mayor, president of the city council or comptroller, shall exceed three thousand dollars, or (ii) for borough president, shall exceed two thousand five hundred dollars, or, (iii) for member of the city council, shall exceed two thousand dollars; provided that if state law prescribes a contribution limitation of a lesser amount, this paragraph shall not be deemed to authorize acceptance of a contribution in excess of such lesser amount.

Contributions which are not expended in an election:

may be carried over for expenditure by a candidate or committees in the next following election for nomination for election or election to such office in the same calendar year, provided that such carry over may not in any way affect, modify or waive the obligation of such candidate or committees to comply with the provisions of this chapter, including the limitations on the receipt of contributions and on the making of expenditures for each election.

Administrative Code §3-706(3). (Emphasis added).

It is therefore the opinion of the Board that a candidate who has received the maximum permissible contribution from a contributor for the general election may not carry over for expenditure in the general election the unspent portion of a contribution made by that contributor for a primary election. The Board has, to date, not adopted regulations concerning the computation of the unspent portions of primary or other contributions which may be carried over pursuant to Administrative Code §3-706(3).