A proposed class action alleges the New York City Campaign Finance Board unlawfully changed resident-contribution-matching laws “in the middle of an election,” refusing to handle its routine assessment of the contributions from city residents or approve matching funds.
Under New York City campaign finance law, residents who contribute money to a municipal candidate’s campaign expect that their contribution will be matched by taxpayer dollars at a ratio of $8 for every $1 dollar contributed up to certain levels depending on the office sought by the candidate, the 16-page lawsuit says.
The plaintiffs and proposed class members, New York residents who contributed to Democratic New York City Council candidate Hiram Monserrate’s “Hiram 21” campaign for the June 22, 2021 primary election, allege the New York City Campaign Finance Board instead changed its own rules in late February, barring the board from providing public matching funds to a candidate who “was purportedly disqualified from holding municipal office.”
“That is, they relied on a rule change in the middle of an election,” the complaint charges.
The plaintiffs argue that in truth, the New York City law, Local Law No. 15, passed in late February 2021 did not, in fact, bar Monserrate or any other theoretical candidate to whom the law might apply from having their contributors’ donations matched, or from appearing on the ballot. The lawsuit avers that even if the law did address the candidate’s right to appear on the ballot in the first place—though “it does not,” the suits says—it is, “for perhaps obvious reasons,” unlikely that there exists “any legislation that has been found constitutionally sound when enacted during an election cycle that disqualifies previously qualifying candidates from appearing on the ballot.”
In short, the lawsuit says, the law that the New York City Campaign Finance Board relied upon in “refusing its statutory duty” to match proposed class members’ campaign contributions is unconstitutional.
Get class action lawsuit news sent to your inbox – sign up for ClassAction.org’s free weekly newsletter here