Public Advocate Wannabes Get 8-1 Matching Funds


NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today held a public hearing for and signed Intro. 1288, which makes all elections between now and the 2021 primary, including the upcoming special election, eligible for stronger campaign finance laws and helps the average New Yorker have more of a say in individual campaigns. New Yorkers voted for this reform overwhelmingly in the 2018 General Election, however it would not have gone into effect until 2021. The Mayor also signed a formal proclamation setting the date – February 26, 2019 – for the Special Election for Public Advocate.

“With the upcoming special election, we’re expediting an important piece of legislation that will strengthen the voices of average New Yorkers by reforming campaign finance laws,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Originally, these reforms were set to go into effect in 2021, but New Yorkers deserve to have these reforms in place when choosing their new Public Advocate. I want to thank Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Council Member Ben Kallos and the rest of the City Council for passing this piece of legislation.”

Intro. 1288 allows candidates currently running in special elections to choose between two public financing options. Candidates can access the current system, which allows a maximum contribution of $2,550 from each New York City resident. The City will match the first $175 six to one.

Candidates may also have access to a second option that caps donations at $1,000 per New York City resident, but provides an eight-to-one match on the first $250.

Amy Loprest, the Executive Director of the Campaign Finance Board, said, “Increasing access to public matching funds and placing tighter limits on contributions will increase fairness and include more voices in city elections.”

“New Yorkers spoke loud and clear when over 1.1 million voters demanded fewer big dollars in New York City elections,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, Sponsor of Intro. 1288. “We must start with the very next election for Public Advocate, who could be the first city-wide candidate without the influence of big dollars. Thank you to Mayor de Blasio for getting this legislation into place just in time to give candidates the option of participating.”

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