City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley’s (D-Middle Village) campaign account was assessed four violations last Thursday by the city Campaign Finance Board, but she was not ordered to pay any fines.
Although Crowley’s campaign was also ordered to give back the more than $8,700 left in her campaign account, the reason has nothing to do with the violations, according to CFB spokesman Eric Friedman.
“The idea is these are public funds,” Friedman said, referring to the city’s matching funds program.
If a candidate took matching funds but did not spend the whole amount, he or she is required to give the city back the unspent portion, Friedman said.
Crowley’s 2009 campaign was dealt four CFB violations last week for exceeding the expenditure limit, having improper post-election expenditures, accepting a corporate contribution and failing to respond to a CFB post-election review in a timely manner.
But the board considered the violations so trivial they are not penalizing Crowley’s campaign with fines.
For example, Crowley’s campaign exceeded the $161,000 spending limit for Council candidates who opted into the matching funds program by more than $2,500.
The CFB said the reason the councilwoman went over the limit was because of more than $2,800 in fines from the city Environmental Control Board over campaign posters.
“Although the campaign technically exceeded the expenditure limit, the violation was deemed a violation no penalty,” the board said.
Campaigns are also only allowed to spend campaign funds for campaign-related expenses and for “routine activities involving nominal cost associated with winding up a campaign and responding to the [CFB’s] post-election audit.”
Crowley’s account paid $75.40 to Allianceone in April 2010 as well as $326.89 to fax.com and website hoster Go Daddy that was paid after the election, in addition to a $10.04?-a-month fee to fax.com from July to November 2011.
“The board deemed this a violation no penalty,” the agency wrote in a summary of Crowley’s violations.
Crowley’s campaign also accepted a $100 contribution from Don Capalbi, a Flushing civic leader and business owner, in October 2009 that was deemed a corporate donation.
But the CFB said Crowley “promptly refunded the contribution following CFB staff notification” and the agency decided against fining the campaign for the violation.
The councilwoman’s campaign also did not respond in a timely enough manner to a request for documents from the CFB by the Jan. 19, 2010, due date.
The campaign requested an extension Jan. 26, 2010, a week after the deadline, but the board also said the violation did not warrant a fine.