“For the past several weeks the Council has been in discussions with the Campaign Finance Board (the CFB) and other organizations, including Common Cause, Citizen Action, NAACP and others about Intro. 978, which includes proposed amendments to the City’s Campaign Finance Act. The bill, currently before the Council’s Governmental Operations Committee, was scheduled to have a hearing tomorrow.
“Council Member Rosie Mendez introduced the bill in response to concerns raised by membership organizations regarding recent actions by the CFB governing internal communications by membership organizations. In particular, troubling language in a recent CFB advisory opinion created uncertainty and threatened to chill civic participation by membership organizations. In an effort to foster discussions with the CFB on this issue, the Chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations, Gale Brewer, has deferred the hearing on this matter until January.
“Today Chair Brewer received a letter from the CFB stating that the Board never intended to make any change regarding what constitutes a campaign contribution by a membership organization and further stated that the CFB will continue to enforce the law governing these contributions as it has for the past 23 years. The CFB stated that it would issue an advisory opinion soon to clarify this matter and we look forward to reviewing it.
“The Council, however, continues to be concerned with the CFB’s recently adopted rules regarding independent expenditures. Council Member Mendez and I, along with good government groups such as NYPIRG, Citizens Union, Common Cause and the Brennan Center, believe that the internal communications of membership organizations should continue to be excluded from the definition of independent expenditures, and the Council remains committed to passing a law that reverses this CFB ruling and treats these organizations fairly. Accordingly, Intro 978 will be amended to cover only independent expenditures and the Council anticipates public hearings and vote after the CFB issues its new advisory opinion in January. We look forward to working with all interested parties on this new version of the bill.”