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1991-7: Legal Requirements for Participating Candidates in any City Council Primary Election Held in 1991 Pursuant to a Court Order

October 09, 1991

The State Supreme Court, in the Bronx, Queens and Kings counties, has ordered a new Democratic primary election in the 14th, 30th, and 40th Council districts. This advisory opinion summarizes the legal requirements applicable to candidates participating in the New York City Campaign Finance Program in any of these elections or any other "re-run" Council primary election that may be held this year pursuant to court order.

The Campaign Finance Act contribution limit applicable to Council candidates on the ballot in a court ordered re-run election is increased by $1,500, to a total of $4,500, for all elections held in 19911. Administrative Code §3-703(1) (f). A separate expenditure limit of $52,500 is in effect for a court-ordered election. Administrative Code §3-706(1) (b). Because challenging or defending the results of the September 12, 1991 primary election is tantamount to challenging or defending the validity of a certificate of nomination, expenses incurred for this purpose are exempt from the Act's expenditure limits, but may not be paid for with public funds. See Administrative Code §3-704(2) (h) ; 3-706(4) .

Public fund payments to a candidate in a court ordered re-run election will equal 25 percent of the amount paid to that candidate in the primary election. Administrative Code §3-705(5). The total re-run election payments would be adjusted, upward or downward, to reflect any changes that are ultimately made in the total primary election payments. Campaign Finance Board Rule 5-01(j). See also Advisory Opinion No. 1991-6, issued simultaneously with this opinion, which outlines how certain public fund payments are initially characterized as primary or general election payments. No other public funds will be paid on the basis of matchable contributions in a re-run election. Administrative Code §3-705(2).

Because public funds paid for an election held pursuant to court order may be used only for qualified campaign expenditures in that election, the Board requires that they be deposited in a separate bank account and not commingled with any other public or private funds. Administrative Code §3-708(10); compare Campaign Finance Board Rule 2-06. An eligible candidate who, in addition to appearing on the ballot in the re-run election, will appear on the general election ballot regardless of the outcome of the re-run election, may receive public fund payments for the general election prior to the date of the re-run election. Administrative Code §3-709(6). That candidate may not, of course, use these general election payments for the re-run election.

Re-run election candidates are not required to file additional disclosure statements. Compare Rule 3-02(c), (d). These candidates must, however, make daily disclosures of certain receipts and expenditures during the seven days immediately preceding the re-run election. Rule 3-02(f).


1 All candidates must also abide by the contribution limits set forth in New York Election Law Article 14. See Administrative Code §§3-703(1) (f); 3-714; Campaign Finance Board Rule 1-04(o). Where State law contribution limits are lower than those contained in the Campaign Finance Act, the State law contribution limits apply.