A package of bills to tighten the city’s campaign finance rules is set to be introduced in the City Council this week. The legislation would bar more people from giving big bucks to candidates because they do business with the city, and slap more restrictions on fundraising by such donors. “We’re taking on the onslaught of dark money and special interests in the city’s elections,” said Councilman Ben Kallos, chair of the government operations committee and one of the sponsors. Right now, owners of firms with city business are bound by strict contribution limits – but their parent companies and those companies’ execs aren’t covered. That means real estate titans who hide their business in multiple LLCs can get out of the rules.
People with city business can only give $400 for mayor and other citywide offices – compared to $4,950 for other donors. Under the new rules, when one business owns a chunk of another business that deals with the city, the parent company’s officials would have to follow the lower limits.
“You have people who are effectively doing business with the city, behaving as if they’re not,” said Councilman Jumaane Williams, who is sponsoring the measure. “You should be following the same rules.”
Another bill would ban candidates from getting taxpayer matching funds for donations raised by fundraisers who do business with the city.