DFS Arm of WFP, Says Campaign Board (UPDATED)
September 2nd, 2009
In a warning to candidates coordinating their campaigns with the Working Families Party, the Campaign Finance Board today said it would treat the political party’s private consulting firm, Data and Field Services, as an “arm of the Working Families Party.”
That means any coordination between candidates and the Working Families Party’s affiliates will have to be billed as expenditures at market rate or tagged as an in kind contribution — subject to the city’s regular contribution limits.
Essentially, the board is trying to make sure candidates that have been endorsed by the Working Families Party, which include a plethora of city council candidates and public advocate candidate Councilmember Bill de Blasio, pay for the services they are getting.
UPDATE: Here is a statement from the Working Families Party: “We share the Campaign Finance Board’s interpretation of the law and are confident that the Working Families Party, Data and Field Services and all of the campaigns we are supporting are fully in compliance with both the letter and spirit of the law.”
Here is the statement from the board this morning and the filing of those who have contracted with Data and Field Services so far.
STATEMENT OF THE NYC CAMPAIGN FINANCE BOARD
There has been much attention surrounding potential violations of the New York City Campaign Finance Act and Board Rules by campaigns that have hired Data and Field Services, Inc. (“DFS”). The potential violations are twofold: (1) that campaigns are not paying full market value for services; and (2) the potential for non-independent expenditures due to DFS’ close affiliation with the Working Families Party and its affiliates.
Based on information acquired by the Board to date, it is the Board’s understanding that DFS exists as an arm of the Working Families Party. Both organizations are located in the same space and share employees; DFS was created by Working Families Party staff; and there are no apparent firewalls between them. In light of the close affiliation, the Board presumes that any activity undertaken by the Working Families Party on behalf of campaigns using DFS as a vendor is non-independent. Therefore, these activities must be reported and accounted for by campaigns as either an in-kind contribution from the Working Families Party or an expenditure.
In determining whether expenditures by an outside party are non-independent, the Board applies the factors in Rule 1-08(f). The Board makes no determination regarding violations at this time. Every campaign will be afforded the opportunity to be fully heard regarding potential findings of violation.By Courtney Gross on September 2, 2009, 12:05 pm
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