The Executive Director of NYC’s Campaign Finance Board issued a statement today minimizing the impact the Supreme Court ruling regarding campaign spending will have on NYC politics–although that sort of unrestricted spending can be lavished on local as well as national candidates.
“While today’s decision may have a critical impact on the next federal elections, it addresses a specific provision of federal law that has no direct parallel in City law,” said Amy Loprest.
“The decision addresses independent spending by corporations supporting candidates; it does not disturb the prohibition on direct contributions from corporations to candidates.”
A divided Supreme Court struck down limits on corporate political spending–overturning two precedents–in a ruling likely to affect campaigning in the 2010 elections, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
“It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans,” President Obama commented, according to Reuters and many other news organizations.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito joined the five-justice majority in ruling that a central provision of the 2002 McCain-Feingold Campaign-Finance-Act violated the First Amendment by restricting corporations from funding political messages in the run-up to elections, Jess Bravin of WSJ explained.
Ms Loprest of the NYC Campaign Finance Board said in a press release issued late Thursday:
“The decision addresses independent spending by corporations supporting candidates. It does not disturb the (NYC) prohibition on direct contributions from corporations to candidates.”
The inference in Ms Loprest’s statement is that lifting a ban on indirect spending will have only minimal impact here (presumably because that sort of spending is more likely in national rather than state and city races) although unrestricted indirect spending by corporations and unions on campaign ads would now seem to be legal in local races as well.
A spokesman for the Campaign Finance Board clarified the matter by stating that current NYC Campaign Finance Law does not currently restrict campaign ads from unions and corporations and does not require disclosure.
“It’s obviously something we would like to address,” he said. “We think disclosure is important so that the public knows who is supporting a candidate.”
In her press release, Ms Loprest does belatedly mention the need for local action:
“The decision draws attention to the need for better, more complete disclosure of political activity in New York City,” she stated. “We believe the Campaign Finance Act should be expanded to require disclosure of independent spending on behalf of candidates made by corporations and all other outside parties.”
The following sources were used to prepare this article:
NYC Campaign Finance Board
Wall Street Journal
John Signoriello can be contacted by email at [email protected]