Candidates for Mayor, Public Advocate, Borough President and City Council Join In Lawsuit to Preserve 4-1 Match In Campaign Funds

February 15, 2001

For Immediate Release
February 15, 2001

Contact Information:
Scott Schell, 212 998-6318
Amanda Cooper, 212 998-6736

Candidates for Mayor, Public Advocate, Borough President and City Council Join in Lawsuit to Preserve 4-1 Match in Campaign Fund
Brennan Center for Justice Representing Broad Cross-section of Candidates

Today, a nonpartisan group of three dozen candidates for city office took legal action to protect New York City’s nationally recognized campaign finance system, seeking to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Mayor Giuliani. The group includes mayoral candidates Herman Badillo, Fernando Ferrer, Mark Green, and Alan Hevesi, and candidates for every major city office. Led by Ferrer and Green, and the Brennan Center’s Frederick A. O. Schwarz, Jr., the group of candidates joined together for a news conference today on the steps of City Hall to announce the legal action.

The candidates are seeking to join a pending lawsuit filed by the City of New York against the New York City Campaign Finance Board. In that suit, Mayor Giuliani has challenged the legality of the City’s 4-1 match of candidate contributions of $250 or less, a law that passed over his veto in October 1998. The candidates are intervening in the case on the same side as the Campaign Finance Board as they mount their defense of the City’s campaign finance system.

“Today we hear from those that would be most directly affected by a change in the City’s system for financing campaigns: the candidates currently running for office,” says E. Joshua Rosenkranz, Brennan Center President. “The candidates paint a vivid picture of the many ways in which the 4-1 match improves our democracy. The 4-1 match draws in more, and more diverse, candidates; makes them more competitive; allows them to promote issues over fundraising; increases their contact with voters; and broadens voter participation.”

In addition to the mayoral candidates, the group of three dozen candidates represented by the Brennan Center includes candidates for Public Advocate, Borough President and City Council. (A complete list is below.) City Council Speaker and mayoral candidate Peter Vallone is separately intervening on the side of the Campaign Finance Board on behalf of the City Council.

In affidavits filed today in court, the candidates said the following about the 4-1 match:

  • “Because of the match, I am able to reach out to the City’s diverse community and go beyond the usual suspects - people who have a significant amount of money.” Alan Hevesi, candidate for Mayor.
  • “The 4-1 match would allow me to reach out to more potential donors, not just those who can make large contributions.” Herman Badillo, candidate for Mayor.
  • “The 4-1 match allows me to spend more time campaigning - talking to voters, listening to their concerns, discussing issues - and less time raising money.” Mark Green, candidate for Mayor.
  • “I have given many fund-raising parties where new donors have told me they were giving to a candidate for the first time because their $50 or $100 contributions would be multiplied four times under the City’s program.” Norman Siegel, candidate for Public Advocate.
  • “The 4-1 match makes people feel more interested in the political process. This is particularly true in minority and lower income communities, where people often feel left out of the political process.? Fernando Ferrer, candidate for Mayor.
  • “I can focus on smaller contributors rather than wealthy people who can contribute larger sums of money. I believe this makes government and politics much cleaner to voters.” Virginia Fields, Manhattan Borough President seeking re-election.
  • “It has allowed me to focus my fund-raising efforts among my constituents, many of whom are relatively new immigrants who do not have much personal wealth.” Rocky Chin, candidate for City Council (Manhattan).
  • “I am reaching out to people who feel ignored by the City’s political system.” Richard Perez, candidate for City Council (Brooklyn).

Mayor Giuliani’s effort to kill the City’s model campaign finance system, just as it is being fully implemented, is opposed by Republicans and Democrats alike, and by candidates seeking every level of city office.

Candidate affidavits and the memorandum of law supporting the candidates’ motion to intervene are available from the Brennan Center. For these filings, or to reach members of the legal team for comment, contact Amanda Cooper of the Brennan Center at (212) 998-6736. Click here to learn more about the Brennan Center’s work to promote campaign finance reform throughout the nation.

Herman Badillo 212-453-3711
Fernando Ferrer 718-590-8555
Mark Green 212-669-4659
Alan G. Hevesi 212-669-3500

Stephen DiBrienza 212-788-6969
Kathryn E. Freed 212-788-7722
Betsy Gotbaum 212-274-9822
Norman Siegel 212-873-8529
Scott Stringer 212-873-6368

William C. Thompson 212-227-2999

Virginia C. Fields 212-669-3435—MANHATTAN
Helen Marshall 718-429-3287—QUEENS
Kenneth K. Fisher 212-416-8389—BROOKLYN
Marty Markowitz 718-332-7171—BROOKLYN

Steven Banks 212-577-3277
Charles Barron 718-722-7604
Bill de Blasio 718-369-0111
Craig Hammerman 718-369-6690
Anthony Miranda 718-963-4371
Eva Moskowitz 212-818-0580
Richard Perez 718-323-3211
Craig Seeman 646-235-5626
Joanne Seminara 212-867-9500 x 273
Peter Williams 718-857-1396
David Yassky 718-780-7554

Terry A. Bastone718-796-2006

Gale A. Brewer 212-749-0330
Margaret Chin 212-233-3922
Rocky Chin 212-675-2092
Brad Hoylman 212-493-7484
Anna Lewis 212-374-6348
A. Gifford Miller 212-879-0311
Robert Miller 718-336-3828
Christine C. Quinn 212-768-4344
Larry Sauer 212-268-8400 x 231

Ethel Chen 718-762-5798
Rudolph I. Greco, Jr. 718-639-7600
Joseph Heaphy 718-482-1499
Hiram Monserrate 718-429-2601
David Reich 718-793-2431