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1989-10: Treatment of Volunteers as Intermediaries

January 25, 1989

An advisory opinion has been requested whether certain persons are "intermediaries" within the meaning of New York City Administrative Code §3-702(12). The following example has been described:

An individual, A, volunteers to assist in the campaign of C, a candidate for Mayor in New York City who has agreed to be bound by the limitations set forth in the Campaign Finance Act. A is assisting C by requesting contributions for C's campaign from A's friends and acquaintances. A number of these contributions go directly to A, who then passes them on to C's authorized committee. The principal relationship between A and the contributors, and among the contributors themselves where there is any relationship at all, is one of friendship rather than common business interest.

Administrative Code §3-702(12) provides:

The term "intermediary" shall mean an individual...who, other than in the regular course of business as a postal, delivery or messenger service, delivers any contribution from another person or entity to a candidate or an authorized committee. "Intermediary" shall not include spouses, parents, children or siblings of the person making such contribution.

Intermediaries are to be disclosed by the authorized committee designated by a candidate participating in the public financing program. Administrative Code §3-703(6).

It is therefore the opinion of the Board that A, the campaign volunteer described in the example quoted above, is an intermediary within the meaning of §3-702(12) and subject to the disclosure requirement of §3-703(6). The lack of a common business interest between A and the persons whose contributions are delivered by A is not relevant to a determination whether A is an "intermediary" within the meaning of Administrative Code §3-703(6).