Stringer & The Campaign Finance Board: The 2005 Edition

In his last competitive primary, Scott Stringer was fined over $72,000 by the New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB) for exceeding the primary spending limit.  The CFB audit results are available on the CFB website.

One of Stringer’s main lines of attack in his comptroller race against Eliot Spitzer has been Spitzer’s decision to not participate in the NYC campaign finance system and to instead self-fund.  Stringer lauds the campaign finance program and publicly urges Spitzer to abide by the program’s spending limits.

In 2005, Scott Stringer won a 9(!) person primary for the Democratic nomination for Manhattan Borough President.  Stringer went on to easily win the general election and re-election in 2009.  As part of the administration of New York City’s campaign finance program, after the election the CFB audited the 2005 Stringer campaign, issuing it’s report in 2009.

In it’s report, the CFB listed a number of campaign finance violations by Stringer 2005, with the most significant being Stringer 2005 spending more in it’s campaign than permitted by law.  The CFB initially concluded that Stringer 2005 exceeded the limit by $169,039, but reduced it’s finding to $45,649 after considering the Stringer campaign’s response.  It then penalized the Stringer 2005 campaign $72,393, which the campaign paid.

Note: The CFB audit also references an investigation into whether calls and mail sent by the Working Families Party (WFP) on behalf of Stringer and attacking one of his opponents were unlawful contributions to Stringer.  After an extensive investigation, the CFB reported that it was “unable to find evidence of any coordinated activities between the Stringer Campaign and the WFP” and therefor dismissed the complaint.  The CFB went on to note that because Stringer, despite being endorsed by the WFP, was not it’s nominee, a specific rule shifting the burden of proof to Stringer 2005 was not applicable.