May 6, 2013 •
City allowed to keep its contribution limits below the state’s limits
The New York City Campaign Finance Board scored a huge win in the courts Friday. Republican mayoral candidate George McDonald had sued the city in hopes of eliminating the city’s strict contribution limits and attempt to bring them in line with the state’s limits. However, the Manhattan court said the city’s contribution limits are legal and reasonable to keep money from influencing elections.
Judge Kathryn Freed, who gave the decision for the court, held, “The court finds that the establishment of uniform limitations on both participating and non-participating candidates is reasonably related and calculated to achieve the goals of reducing the influence of ‘wealthy special interests’ over local elections, and increasing public participation and public confidence in those elections, is well within the powers granted to the City to protect the welfare and well being of its citizens.”
McDonald recently announced that he would join the voluntary public financing system and would conform to the current contribution limits, but promised to keep his fight up in court. McDonald still has the option of appealing this decision, but declined to say whether he would. He was disheartened in the entries process, saying “It’s disappointing that it took 147 days to ‘just say no’ in long form.”
McDonald is the underdog in a three-way battle for the Republican nomination with Joe Lhota and John Catsimatidis. The primary election for the mayor’s office, and all other city offices, is September 10.
March 26, 2013 •
George McDonald ends fight to circumvent the city’s contribution limits for 2013 election
New York City mayoral candidate George McDonald has momentarily thrown up the white flag in his attempt to circumvent the contribution limits. McDonald, who is running for the Republican nomination, filed suit against the New York City Campaign Finance Board in hope of removing the city’s very strict contribution limits.
McDonald’s argument relied on the theory that the state’s contribution limits, which are higher than the city’s limits, superseded the city’s restrictions. McDonald had hoped for a quick resolution, but the court has taken nearly a month to decide the case and McDonald fears he is running low on time.
McDonald now plans on raising enough funds to qualify for the public financing system, meaning he will have to raise at least $250,000 from donations of up to $175. If he is able to do that, the city will give his campaign $1.5 million.
McDonald is considered a long shot to win the Republican nod as he is going up against a political veteran, Joseph Lhota, and a billionaire businessman, John A. Catsimatidis. McDonald has argued that the city’s laws give these two types of candidates an unfair advantage over first-time candidates.
McDonald’s lawsuit still must be decided by the court, but most experts believe he has little chance of winning.
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