June 7th, 2011
However low his political stock may have fallen this week, Anthony Weiner’s campaign bank account balance remains high, leaving the Tweeting representative from Brooklyn and Queens with lots of cash and perhaps no place to spend it.
According to city Campaign Finance Board records, Weiner has collected $5.1 million for a likely mayoral run in 2013, most of it raised in 2007 and 2008. That was back in the days when Weiner — single and perhaps not yet on Twitter — was coming off a strong showing in the 2005 Democratic mayoral primary and Mayor Michael Bloomberg still dreamed of the White House, not a third term in Gracie Mansion. Weiner backed out of the 2009 race — reportedly much to Bloomberg’s relief — after the mayor extended term limits and decided to run for re-election. Records show Weiner has not raised any money since 2008 — although he has returned some contributions during that period.
As he is allowed to do under city campaign law, Weiner rolled the money over into a new account for 2013. And he has made some modest expenditures.
That leaves him with somewhere around about $4 million as of the last filing deadline: January 2011. (For a summary of Weiner’s raising and spending go here.)
Weiner has a substantial fundraising edge over his closest rival — Christine Quinn who has raised about $3.2 million and spent a little less than $500,00 of it — and dwarfs the amounts raised by other possible mayor contenders Scott Stringer (a little les than $1.1 million raised), John Liu ($513,472) and Bill de Blasio ($392,576).
As they say, though, money isn’t everything. And however much Weiner might like to use funds to say escape to a dessert island where no one Tweets (assuming there is such a place), he is fairly constrained about how he can use the money, according to Eric Friedman, director of external affairs for the Campaign Finance Board.
More on what he can and can’t do after the jump.
He would be hard-pressed under federal law, to take money raised for a city campaign and spend it on a future congressional campaign, Friedman said. Instead he would have to return the money to the donors and ask them to recontribute it.
Under state law, which governs use of the account, Friedman said, the candidate can hold on to the money, donate it to charity or give it to another candidate. And, Friedman said “you can always just return it to the donors” — something some disgruntled one-time supporters may want Weiner to do.
One thing he can’t do, though, Freidman said is “use it for personal use.”
If Weiner decided he had no future in city politics, he could close his account with the city. But the money, Freidman said, would still be subject to state law. Aside from filing required disclosure reports, Weiner does not really have to do anything about the money until June 2013 — when he would have to decide whether the file a certification form to participate in the Campaign Finance Program.
In addition to his city war chest, Federal Election Commission records show Weiner has $365,670 on hand for his 2012 campaign to be re-elected to his House seat. That seat, of course, looked quite safe — until yesterday.
Ironically the Tweeting scandal could give Weiner more money. The National Republican Congressional Committee is reportedly calling on Democratic members of Congress who received campaign money from Weiner to give it back to him. One, Betty Sutton of Ohio has said she will give the $1,000 she got from Weiner to charity instead.By Gail Robinson on June 7, 2011, 5:24 pm
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