The New York City Campaign Finance Board (“CFB”) was created in 1988 as an independent, nonpartisan City agency. It has the following four mandates:
The Campaign Finance Program helps people run for office without relying on large campaign contributions by giving them the opportunity to qualify for public matching funds to help them run competitive campaigns. Candidates who join the Program can qualify to receive public funds that match contributions received from NYC residents at a rate of $4 to every $1 for contributions of up to $250. In return, these Program participants agree to abide by strict spending limits — which help level the playing field between participants who have or can raise large amounts of money and those who cannot — and other requirements, including restrictions on the types of expenditures they can make using this public money.
Beginning with this 2005 election, all candidates for municipal office are required to file disclosure statements with the Board containing detailed information about their contributors and how campaign money is spent. Contribution limits and the corporate contribution ban now apply to all candidates, even if they don’t choose to join the Program and receive matching funds. Contribution limits prevent candidates from running campaigns with large amounts of money from just a few wealthy people or groups, and thus reduce the influence of private money in political campaigns.
The CFB computerizes the information provided by candidates so that the public and the press can easily find out the details of candidates’ campaign finances. This information is available in the CFB’s searchable database, and on a public computer terminal at the CFB’s offices. All candidates are audited by the CFB to make sure that they are observing the disclosure requirements and contribution restrictions, and for those who join the Program, to make sure they follow all the Program requirements.
You can see which candidates have joined the Campaign Finance Program for the 2005 elections by looking at the bottom of their profiles for the phrase “Participating in the NYC Campaign Finance Program.” If you are interested in running for city office, or in learning more about how the Campaign Finance Program is helping to make local elections in New York more open and democratic, please contact the CFB at:
The New York City Campaign Finance Board