I Ran For Office, And All I Got Was This Lousy Fine



Can't complain too much (though I tried).  All things considered, I guess $100 fine seems pretty fair for having made $2,000 worth of what the CFB deemed "non-campaign-related expenditures," and for paying on a portion of these commitments one day late, right?

The irony - I was fined for my Dollars for Democracy program, the part of the campaign where I was to put my money where my mouth was. My mouth was saying that instead of just using tax-payer funds to buy-off political club endorsements, why not redirect some of these monies to community organizations that were consistently adding real value to New Yorkers on the ground?

Specifically, I had pledged to redirect up to $3,000 worth of special interest monies that came into my campaign - lobbyists and real estate dollars included - to community organizations; organizations like New Yorkers for Parks, the PTA at PS 15, Gay Men's Health Crisis, the legal fund of the Phipps Plaza West Tenants Association, the Hispanic Federation, etc.

The good news is that these organizations ultimately got the funds.  The bad news is that the larger point was in many ways lost on the establishment, which still would rather enable campaigns to buy off assorted political entities using taxpayer funds (City Council campaigns have an allowance of $3,000 for such expenditures).

When my campaign first introduced Dollars for Democracy, we calculated that if each of the 150+ campiagns running that cycle had redirected their special interest funding under the political committee exemption above, communities across New York City would have been $500,000 wealthier.

But, the policy-makers (and enforcers) just didn't want it to be so...go figure!