NY Times Questions Working Families Party Candidate Financing

In an editorial the New York Times questions the relationship between a private corporation and Working Families Party candidates.  If their suspicions are correct it may be a way to skirt campaign financing laws. <read>

For example, the company charged City Councilman Bill de Blasio of Brooklyn $5,000 for lists of voters. Officials from other campaigns have complained that sophisticated voter files like those often used by the Working Families Party could cost $25,000 to $40,000. If there is such a differential — and lists can vary considerably — the extra should be counted as a campaign contribution and as part of the cap on allowed spending.

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One response to “NY Times Questions Working Families Party Candidate Financing”

  1. mattw

    Sadly, the NYT didn’t do its homework — while they assert that a “sophisticated voter file” like WFP’s could cost upwards of $25K, in practice political parties never charge anything like that to their candidates. The Connecticut Democrats provide access to Voter Activation Network software from between $1500 and $5000 for the legislative caucuses and Federal candidates, and to municipal campaigns for free. The New York State party provides access to NYC council districts for around $2000 apiece, as can be seen here (look for amounts not ending in .00).

    Two points – once you’ve collected data, and written the database software, there’s essentially no cost to allow others to use it. So the market rate is whatever someone is willing to accept to part with their lists — CT Democrats have made the assumption that the can get Joe Courtney to pay more than Don Williams, and that they can’t get town committees to pay anything at all. Those assumptions are probably right on the money. Also, with all due respect to my WFP friends, it seems unlikely to me that their system stacks up in “sophistication” to the DNCs unified national file — another factor in the “market rate” discussion that the NYT glosses over.

    The whole thing wouldn’t have bothered me nearly as much if they didn’t single out one candidate in the op-ed for criticism, and if they didn’t leave that candidate’s critics nameless and ultimately blameless for what is an unfair ethical charge.

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