Capital Investment$: 2010 Page 1
CAPITAL INVESTMENT$ 2010Executive Summary
New Yorkers sense the impact that big money has on elections, yet theirunderstanding is likely based on Congressional reports on the issue. However,given New York
’s sky high contribution limits, the state’s ca
mpaign financesystem offers even greater opportunities to cultivate influence through the use ofcampaign contributions. State law allows huge campaign donations
far inexcess of those allowed in federal elections. The general election donation limitfor each two-year election cycle to an Assemblymember
whose district has only20 percent the population of Congressional districts
is set at $3,800, while ageneral election donation to a Congressional candidate is $2,400. State Senatecandidates can receive $9,500 contributions per contributor for the generalelection. Candidates for governor can raise a whopping $37,800 for the generalelection
fully 15 times the maximum amount allowed US Senate candidates
or those running for president. This report examines how the New Yorkcampaign finance system and laws operate and the implications for public policy.It
is written to help better understand the state’s system of campaign finance.
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
This report examined the most recent election period for statewide and statelegislative candidates. For statewide candidates, the report examines the filingperiods from January 15, 2007 through the 27-post general election report, filedin November, 2010. For state legislative races, the report examines the filingperiod January 15, 2009 through the 27-post election report.
The report’s key
1. For the 2010 election period more than $246 million was raised forstatewide and state legislative races.
New York State’s staggering
ly highcontribution limits fuel this fundraising (
contributors may give up to $94,200to party committees; maximum to statewide candidates is $55,900).
2. Democratic candidates outraised Republicans for seats in bothhouses.
The typical Democrat running for the Assembly raised nearly twice asmuch as the typical Republican candidate. While Democrats in the Senateoutraised Republicans, the averages were much closer, reflecting the razor-thinmajority they held in that chamber during the 2009-2010 session.
3. The Democratic majority legislative campaign committees raised farmore than Republican minority committees.
Majority party campaign
committees’ fundraising in both houses was significantly higher than that of