§3-705: Optional public financing
Each participating candidate for nomination for election or election in a covered election may obtain payment to his or her principal committee from public funds for qualified campaign expenditures, in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, and subject to appropriation.
1. No such public funds shall be paid to a principal committee unless the board determines that the participating candidate has met the eligibility requirements of this chapter. Payment shall not exceed the amounts specified in this chapter, and shall be made only in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. Such payment may be made only to the participating candidate’s principal committee. No public funds shall be used except as reimbursement or payment for qualified campaign expenditures actually and lawfully incurred or to repay loans used to pay qualified campaign expenditures.
2. (a) If the threshold for eligibility is met, the participating candidate's principal committee shall receive payment for qualified campaign expenditures of six dollars for each one dollar of matchable contributions, up to one thousand fifty dollars in public funds per contributor, obtained and reported to the campaign finance board in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
(b) Except as otherwise provided in subdivision three of section 3-706, in no case shall the principal committee of a participating candidate receive public funds pursuant to paragraph (a) above in excess of an amount equal to fifty-five percent of the expenditure limitation provided in subdivision one of section 3-706 for the office for which such candidate seeks nomination for election or election. For the disbursement of optional public financing occurring prior to two weeks after the last day to file designating petitions for a primary election, the principal committee of a participating candidate shall not receive public funds in excess of $250,000 for any candidate for nomination for election to the office of mayor, $125,000 for any candidate for nomination for election to the office of public advocate or comptroller, $50,000 for any candidate for nomination for election to the office of borough president, and $10,000 for any candidate for nomination for election to the office of member of the city council.
(c) No funds shall be provided pursuant to this subdivision with respect to any covered election specified in subdivision five of this section.
3. A participating candidate seeking or obtaining nomination for election by more than one party shall be deemed one candidate, and shall not receive additional public funds or be authorized to accept contributions in excess of the maximum contribution applicable pursuant to paragraph (f) of subdivision one of section 3-703 or make additional expenditures by reason of such candidate seeking or obtaining nomination for election by more than one party. Subdivision five of section 3-703 shall not be applicable to such a candidate who is opposed for the nomination of at least one party in a primary election. The elimination of the expenditure limitations and qualification for additional matching funds provided in subdivision three of section 3-706 shall not be applicable to such a candidate who is opposed for the nomination of at least one party solely by participating candidates.
4. The campaign finance board shall make possible payment within four business days after receipt of reports of matchable contributions, or as soon thereafter as is practicable, but not earlier than the earliest dates for making such payments as provided in subdivisions five and six of section 3-709; provided, however, that the board shall withhold up to five percent of all public funds payments to participating candidates until the final pre-election payment for any given election. The board shall schedule a minimum of three payment dates within the thirty days prior to a covered election. For purposes of such payment dates, the board shall provide each candidate with a written determination specifying the basis for any non-payment. The board shall provide candidates with a process by which they may immediately upon receipt of such determination petition the board for reconsideration of any such non-payment and such reconsideration shall occur within five business days of the filing of such petition. In the event that the board denies such petition then it shall immediately notify the candidate of his or her right to bring a special proceeding pursuant to article 78 of the civil practice law and rules.
5. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, a participating candidate in a run-off primary
election held pursuant to section 6-162 of the New York state election law or a run-off special election to fill a vacancy shall obtain prompt payment for qualified campaign expenditures in an amount equal to twenty-five cents for each one dollar of public funds paid pursuant to this chapter to the candidate’s principal committee for the preceding election.
(b) The board shall promulgate rules to provide for the prompt issuance of additional public funds to eligible participating candidates for qualified campaign expenditures in the case of an additional day for voting held pursuant to section 3-108 of the New York state election law, an election held pursuant to court order, or a delayed or otherwise postponed election.
(c) Except as provided for by this subdivision and any rules promulgated hereby, no public funds shall be provided to any candidate for any run-off primary election, run-off special election to fill a vacancy, additional day for voting, election held pursuant to court order, or delayed or otherwise postponed election.
6. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter to the contrary, to protect the public fund from disproportionately large payments when the number of voters eligible to vote in a primary election is small, the board shall adopt rules setting a reduced maximum primary election public funds payment for participating candidates on the ballot in one or more primary elections in which the number of persons eligible to vote for party nominees total fewer than such number as shall be specified by the board in such rules, if any. Any such rules shall not apply to participating candidates opposed in a primary election by one of more participating candidates who are not subject to such reduced maximum primary election public funds payment or by a non-participating candidate who makes expenditures in excess of a specified amount for such primary election, as determined by the board.
7. Notwithstanding any provision of this section to the contrary, the amount of public funds payable to a participating candidate on the ballot in any covered election shall not exceed one quarter of the maximum public funds payment otherwise applicable under subdivision two of this section, unless:
*(a) the participating candidate is opposed by a candidate and the board has determined that such other candidate and his or her authorized committees have spent or contracted or have obligated to spend, or received in loans or contributions, or both, an amount which, in the aggregate, exceeds one-fifth of the applicable expenditure limit for such office fixed by subdivision one of section 3-706 of this chapter for participating candidates*; or
(b) the participating candidate has submitted a certified signed statement attesting to the need and stating the reason for additional public funds in such election, in which case the board shall publish such statement at the time such additional public funds are paid, including on the board’s internet website. Such statement must certify that (i) one or more of the following conditions apply and (ii) such condition or conditions reasonably demonstrate the need for such public funds, and the participating candidate must provide documentation demonstrating the existence of such condition or conditions:
(1) the participating candidate is opposed by (i) a non-participating candidate or (ii) a limited participating candidate, and provides a factual basis with supporting documentation of such candidate’s ability to self finance;
(2) the participating candidate is opposed by a candidate who has received (i) the endorsement of a citywide or statewide elected official or a federal elected official representing all or a portion of the area covered by the election; (ii) two or more endorsements from other city elected officials who represent all or a part of the area covered by the election; or (iii) endorsements of one or more membership organizations with a membership of over 250 members;
(3) the participating candidate is opposed by a candidate who has had significant media exposure in the twelve months preceding the election. For purposes of this paragraph, significant media exposure shall mean appearance of the opponent or his or her name on television or radio in the area of the covered election or in print media in general circulation in the area of the covered election at least twelve times in the year preceding the covered election; provided, however, that the listing of names of candidates or potential candidates for a covered election without additional information concerning the opponent shall not constitute an appearance for purposes of this paragraph;
(4) the participating candidate is opposed by a candidate who has received twenty-five percent or more of the vote in an election for public office in an area encompassing all or part of the area that is the subject of the current election in the last eight years preceding the election;
(5) the participating candidate is opposed by a candidate whose name is substantially similar to the candidate’s so as to result in confusion among voters, as determined by the board;
(6) the participating candidate in a city council or borough-wide race is opposed by a candidate who is a chairman or president of a community board or district manager of a community board; or
(7) the participating candidate is opposed by a candidate whose spouse, domestic partner, sibling, parent or child holds or has held elective office in an area encompassing all or part of the area of the covered election in the past ten years.
The board shall be authorized to verify the truthfulness of any certified statement submitted pursuant to this paragraph and of any supporting documentation and shall post such certified statements and supporting documentation on its website.
(c) the participating candidate is opposed in a primary or special election for an office for which no incumbent is seeking re-election.
If any of the conditions described in paragraph (a), (b), or (c) occur in such election, the board shall pay any and all additional public funds due to the participating candidate up to the maximum total payment applicable in such election under subdivisions two or six of this section or subdivision three of section 3-706 of this chapter.
8. Contributions by a principal committee of a participating candidate to other political committees shall not be a basis for reducing public funds payments, provided that: (a) such principal committee has received contributions (other than matchable contributions) that, in the aggregate, exceed the total of such contributions to other political committees and (b) such contributions in the aggregate do not exceed:
(i) three thousand dollars, if such principal committee is the principal committee of a participating candidate seeking nomination for election or election to the office of member of the city council;
(ii) five thousand dollars, if such principal committee is the principal committee of a participating candidate seeking nomination for election or election to the office of borough president; and
(iii) ten thousand dollars, if such principal committee is the principal committee of a participating candidate seeking nomination for election or election to a city-wide office.
9. If a participating candidate endorses or publicly supports his or her opponent for election, such candidate shall not be eligible for public funds.
10. A participating candidate who loses in the primary election but remains on the ballot for the general election must certify to the board before receiving public funds that he or she will actively campaign for election to a covered office; such campaign activity shall include, but not be limited to, raising and spending funds for election to a covered office, seeking endorsements, and broadly soliciting votes.
* The Board will no longer enforce this provision. See Opinion and Order, Ognibene v. Parkes, No. 08-CV-1335 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 4, 2013).