For immediate release: August 22, 2012 NYPIRG’S CLOSER LOOK

:

For more information: Bill Mahoney (518) 817-3738

CAMPAIGN FINANCE LAWS ROUTINELY FLOUTED; OVER $30 MILLION IN CANDIDATE FUNDS MISSING IN ACTION Responses to two FOIL requests made by NYPIRG over the past year reveal that since 2007 the only enforcement actions taken by the New York State Board of Elections for violations of the campaign finance laws have been modest fines levied on committees that filed their disclosure reports late. On the surface these documents seem to indicate that the Maytag Repairman could handle enforcement duties for the Board: New York’s campaign finance system functions so smoothly that there are few violators and there is no need for any corrective measures. Unfortunately, a closer look makes it clear that this is not the case. Every year, hundreds of donors give more money than is allowed by state law that has highest limits of any state capping donation size; scores of candidates fail to disclose large contributions received in the run-up to Election Day; thousands of filings obfuscate the identity of donors or the purpose of expenditures through the inclusion of incomplete or incorrect information; and dozens of incumbent lawmakers spend campaign funds for what reasonable people would unanimously agree are non-campaign reasons. Even an examination of committees that file late - the one violation for which the Board has played an active enforcement role - reveals that there is significant room for improvement. The fines the Board issues for this type of violation, usually between $100 and $1,000, clearly are not enough to deter candidates who appear to have no interest in filing on time or, in some cases, ever. In the July 2012 filing period, 3,639 committees reporting $217,256,855.23 in the bank filed disclosure reports. As of August 13, a full month after the filing deadline, 2,328 active committees with $31,181,363.85 in the bank based on previous filings had still not disclosed any transactions. These non-filing committees fall into two categories. The first includes candidates who have simply not filed, often for several years. 622 committees with $12,151,845.41 in the bank belong to this category. The second contains candidates who have filed recently, but have filed nothing but “no activity reports” for the past few reporting periods. The Board authorizes the use of these reports only when a committee has had no transactions over the course of a six month period.1 Many of the committees that
1

Election Law §14-108 makes clear that candidate committees must report regularly to the State Board of elections: “. . . the board shall provide that every political committee which has filed a statement of treasurer and depository shall make at least one filing every six months between the time such statement of treasurer and depository is filed and the time such committee goes out of business.” The Board’s handbook for filers makes

have filed “no-activity reports” have bank accounts totaling tens of thousands of dollars or more; it is unlikely that each of them truly have not received as much as a dime in interest or paid a dollar in bank fees over the course of several years. Further, since the Board never appears to conduct audits of filers, it is impossible to know if any of these candidates and/or their treasurers simply pocketed the remainder of their funds after losing an election. The two charts below make clear that the Board drops the ball even when it comes to the one enforcement action they purportedly engage in. Much of the blame is likely due to the Board’s inherently partisan structure, while some surely can be laid on the lack of funding they have received in recent budget cycles. That said, we can find no record of the Board asking for additional resources or authority for enforcement or auditing. In either case, these lists make it even clearer than before that removing enforcement and administration of the campaign finance law from the Board’s partisan grip is an absolutely critical component of any potential reform packages. Notable committees that have not recently filed any reports The following charts focus on candidates and party committees, but include a few notable PACs. All of these committees have been checked at least twice since Monday, August 13th. It is possible that some have filed in the last few days and their appearance on this chart is dated. Nevertheless, each of these filers’ July reports is over a month late. Some of these committees may have transferred money to other committees controlled by the same individuals, though a quick look shows that none of these transactions have been made recently. Even if they did, however, this does not allow them to simply avoid filing for their former committees. Former Senator Pedro Espada has more committees on this list than any other candidate. Two of his campaign committees and two PACs have a total of $378,499.68 in the bank, none of which have filed in the past two years.
Last Known $ On Hand $4,012,403.71 $1,127,007.38 $290,556.24 $200,000.00 Last Time Reporting Transactions 2011 July 2006 January 2010 11 Pre Primary 2008 July Last Time Filing a No-ActivityReport None Filed None Filed None Filed None Filed

Committee Name FRIENDS OF STEVE LEVY
2

Link Link Link Link Link

FRIENDS OF PETE MC GOWAN NEW YORKERS FOR ESPADA RECALL BALL

clear that any candidate committee who has raised or spent over $1,000 during the course of any campaign for which they were originally created can only file these reports if “there has not been any activity (i.e., receipts and/or expenditures, including interest, dividends, and bank charges) during the reporting period.” See, e.g., New York State Board of Elections Campaign Finance Handbook 2012, p. 121: http://www.elections.ny.gov/NYSBOE/download/finance/hndbk2012.pdf)
2

Steve Levy surrendered the remainder of his war chest to the Suffolk County DA’s office. He is, however, still required to file under election law.

FRIENDS OF DICK GOTTFRIED FRIENDS OF LEECIA EVE COMMITTEE TO RE-ELECT STATE SENATOR OLGA A. MENDEZ ANNE ADAMS FOR JUSTICE ESPADA FOR THE PEOPLE TRUTH ABOUT BALL MONSERRATE 2010 PEOPLE FOR JIMMY DAHROUG FRIENDS OF MCCALL/MEHIEL RESPONSIBLE NEW YORK COMMITTEE TO ELECT ELIO FORCINA WRIGHT FOR THE COUNTY FRIENDS OF MICHAEL BENJAMIN NEW YORKERS FOR DILAN WILLIAM F. BOYLAND JR 2010 REELECTION CAMPAIGN FRIENDS OF CHRISTIAN BROWNE CHARLIE 2010 MARTINO 2010 FRIENDS OF JOHN RUIZ FOR PUBLIC OFFICE FRIENDS OF ANTHONY NANULA VOTE FOR DAVE KERPEN FRIENDS OF LYNN NUNES COMMITTEE FOR RE-ELECTION OF SENATOR ADA L. SMITH FRIENDS OF LEON R. KOZIOL C. VIRGINIA FIELDS FOR STATE SENATE PEOPLE FOR CASTELLANOS FRIENDS OF TERENCE PARK LATESSA FOR ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE TO REELECT SENATOR PEDRO ESPADA, JR. FRIENDS OF AL CURTIS INDEPENDENCE PARTY ROCKLAND COUNTY COMMITTEE TOWN OF LLOYD REPUBLICAN COMMITTEE FRIENDS OF ANTOINE THOMPSON FRIENDS OF GREGG LUNDAHL INDEPENDENCE PARTY CLUB OF

Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link

$150,497.08 $71,430.77 $70,821.48 $66,000.00 $62,593.51 $50,000.00 $46,731.51 $45,565.82 $43,281.98 $41,556.11 $40,907.15 $40,834.90 $40,592.65 $39,615.83 $30,950.00 $28,260.28 $28,021.87 $27,114.34 $25,018.87 $24,019.44 $22,913.00 $22,356.41 $22,184.74 $22,057.40 $22,054.09 $21,175.06 $20,827.99 $19,622.02 $19,171.19 $18,583.31 $18,334.88 $17,177.65 $16,842.18 $16,752.67 $15,458.67

2012 January 2010 July 2004 11 Pre General 2008 July 2008 11 Pre Primary 2008 July 2010 32 Pre Primary 2009 July 2006 January 2012 January 2011 January 2010 July 2010 July 2011 January 2010 July 2012 January 2010 10 PG 2010 32 Pre Primary 2010 11 Pre General 2001 January 2009 July 2010 10 Post Primary 2007 January 2007 11 Pre General 2006 July 2010 January 2006 11 Pre Primary 2010 10 Post Primary 2002 32 Pre General 2005 July 2007 January 2010 July 2006 July 2011 January 2012 January

None Filed 2011 July None Filed None Filed None Filed None Filed None Filed None Filed 2006 July None Filed 2012 January None Filed None Filed None Filed None Filed None Filed None Filed 2012 January 2011 January 2003 July 2011 July 2012 January None Filed 2009 July None Filed None Filed 2012 January None Filed 2003 January 2006 January None Filed None Filed None Filed None Filed None Filed

NASSAU STEVENSON 2010 CARRIE 4 NASSAU CITIZENS FOR WARDEN 2001 STEPHANIE G. OVADIA COMMITTEE FOR NYS ASSEMBLY FRIENDS FOR V J PRADHAN HAWKINS 2010 DORSA FOR NEW YORK TOWN OF WHEATFIELD REPUBLICAN CLUB - 25 WEEK CLUB FRIENDS OF DONOVAN J. RICHARDS JR 2008 ONONDAGA COUNTY INDEPENDENCE PARTY FRIENDS OF PATRICK SCHAEFER FRIENDS OF JOHN SARCONE MARCO DESENA FOR ASSEMBLY HEALTHY NEW YORK FRIENDS OF WILLIAM H. SALGADO FRIENDS OF YORMAN NUNEZ COMMITTEE TO RE-ELECT GLORIA DAVIS FRIENDS OF DAVID R. TOWNSEND, JR. MALONEY COMMITTEE - NYS PAC ADAM CLAYTON POWELL FOR STATE ASSEMBLY MAJORITY LEADER’S VICTORY FUND Link Link Link Link Link Link Link $14,726.61 $14,705.74 $14,381.16 $14,102.49 $13,444.16 $12,906.78 $12,220.36 2011 January 2010 July 2002 32 Pre Primary 2008 27 Post General 2008 July 2011 July 2009 January 2012 January 2011 July None Filed 2009 January None Filed None Filed 2012 January

Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link

$11,985.77 $11,955.00 $11,649.00 $11,520.00 $11,430.95 $10,563.50 $9,995.00 $9,655.10 $9,523.18 $8,634.12 $8,176.62 $7,981.05 $7,829.15 $6,178.74

2010 January 2008 July 2010 January 2001 July 2002 January 2011 27 Post Special 2004 27 Post General 2004 January 2009 July 2007 January 2010 11 Pre General 2003 July 2011 January 2009 11 Pre Primary

None Filed 2011 July 2010 Off Cycle 2004 January None Filed 2012 January None Filed 2012 January None Filed 2007 July 2011 July 2010 July None Filed 2010 27 Post General

Notable committees that have filed nothing but “no activity reports” for two or more consecutive filing deadlines Many of these candidates have probably behaved legally, and have not touched these truly dormant campaign accounts. Some may even have their money invested in accounts that neither charge bank fees nor pay depositors any interest. It’s reasonable to assume that many of these committees have obeyed the law, and the majority of those who haven’t have only committed the relatively minor peccadillo of failing to report a few dollars’ worth of administrative transactions. However, it’s at least possible that several of the candidates or their treasurers pocketed the balance years ago. In a list that includes several convicted felons, this certainly wouldn’t be unbelievable. As

long as the Board of Elections fails to perform audits on committees, any individuals tempted to take funds under their control for their own personal use would appear to have little to worry about.
Last Known $ On Hand Last Time Reporting Transactions Last Time Filing a NoActivity-Report

Committee Name AMERICAN RESORT DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION RESORT OWNERS' COALITION PAC FRIENDS OF ADAM BRADLEY I LOVE GOOD GOVERNMENTFRIENDS OF ROANN M. DESTITO FRIENDS OF SENATOR GONZALEZ FRIENDS OF JIM COLEMAN MARTINELLI FOR MAYOR FRIENDS OF BOB DOMENICI COMMITTEE TO RE-ELECT CLARENCE NORMAN, JR. THE BROOKLYN DEMOCRATIC ACTION COMMITTEE COMMITTEE TO ELECT MALCOLM A. SMITH JACOBS FOR STATE SENATE FRIENDS OF MARTHA TAYLOR SABINI FOR SENATE INDEPENDENCE PARTY OF NEW YORK STATE - HOUSEKEEPING ACCOUNT FRIENDS OF PAUL WHALEN COMMITTEE TO RE-ELECT JUDGE KOLBERT COMMITTEE TO RE-ELECT PETE GRANNIS MANHATTAN CONNECTION PAC FRIENDS OF AUBERTINE FRIENDS OF EVE CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE SEN DEM FRIENDS OF TODD TANCREDI NYS DEMOCRATIC ASSEMBLY CAMPAIGN COMM. HOUSEKEEPING CONFERENCE 3 ACCT. (DACC) DEMOCRATIC GOVERNORS ASSOCIATION NEW YORK
3

Link

Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link

$10,993,078.17 $176,131.04 $116,310.42 $87,553.12 $53,293.22 $51,519.03 $50,863.98 $45,400.69 $43,295.01 $40,000.00 $31,532.66 $30,553.72 $28,482.12 $27,321.79 $27,131.88 $26,977.45 $26,468.61 $24,518.64 $24,510.26 $23,966.99 $23,376.49 $22,999.80 $20,992.15

2009 July 2011 January 2007 32 Pre General 2011 July 2007 July 2009 July 2012 January 2010 27 Post General 2010 January 2009 January 2009 July 2006 July 2009 January 2009 January 2012 January 2011 27 Post General 2011 10 Post Primary 2011 July 2011 July 2012 January 2003 July 2004 27 Post General 2011 27 Post General

2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July

$19,472.68 $18,954.20

2009 July 2007 July

2012 July 2012 July

A different DACC Houskeeping committee has filed.

LIBERAL PARTY OF NEW YORK STATE CROWLEY 08' FRIENDS OF JAMES WU FRIENDS OF RAYSA CASTILLO COMMITTEE TO ELECT FORMER JUDGE KAREN B. YELLEN TO THE CIVIL COURT FRIENDS OF MAYOR CLINTON I. YOUNG, JR. FRIENDS OF BRIAN SIMON MATOS 2008 FRIENDS OF JOHN CALANDRA FRIENDS OF ALAN M SIMON COMMITTEE TO ELECT DONALD MILES JUDGE OF THE CIVIL COURT COMMITTEE TO ELECT DAVID B. KROGMANN, JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT BAEZ FOR THE FUTURE FRIENDS OF DAN LOSQUADRO FRIENDS OF GIL ETHIER FRIENDS OF JOHN MARCHI LYNCH FOR HIGHWAY FRIENDS OF DAVID NACHBAR JUDGE WOOD FOR SUPREME COURT ELECT JUDGE GIGANTE SURROGATE FRIENDS OF SWAVANJIT SINGH FRIENDS OF ED WEBER ALFRED T. COPPOLA CAMPAIGN FUND COPPOLA CARES WALDON FOR SENATE COMMITTEE TO ELECT KIM SEAGER FAMILY COURT JUDGE FRIENDS OF SATISH MOHAN TEAMSABELLICO FRIENDS OF JON COOPER COMMITTEE FOR MICHAEL KAPLOWITZ JOSEPH FRITZ CAMPAIGN FUND COMMITTEE TO ELECT GERARD MCCREIGHT

Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link

$18,424.76 $18,178.05 $16,363.89 $16,109.72 $16,047.44 $15,616.88 $15,317.00 $14,991.25 $14,503.89 $14,066.24 $14,044.51

2009 July 2011 January 2010 July 2009 July 2008 January 2011 10 Post Primary 2010 July 2008 10 Post Primary 2011 July 2011 27 Post General 2008 July

2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July

$13,710.61 $13,265.70 $13,248.93 $12,390.00 $12,219.98 $11,988.02 $11,893.85 $11,795.67 $11,251.30 $11,087.86 $10,895.33 $10,833.41 $10,700.45 $10,524.85 $10,447.39 $10,340.04 $10,124.41 $10,016.15 $9,460.52 $9,384.40

2005 January 2009 July 2010 July 2011 11 Pre General 2011 January 2011 27 Post General 2010 27 Post General 2010 July 2008 July 2011 July 2007 January 2011 July 2000 January 2009 July 2007 27 Post General 2007 July 2011 27 Post General 2012 January 2010 January 2009 January

2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July 2012 July

CLINTON YOUNG FOR MAYOR COMMITTEE TO ELECT EARL WILLIAMS FRIENDS OF OBERMAN

Link Link Link

$8,673.76 $8,597.00 $8,035.03

2011 11 Pre Primary 2009 27 Post General 2010 July

2012 July 2012 July 2012 July