Ethics Board Aims to Clamp Down on Campaign Spending Loopholes

Dealing with the realities of a post–Citizens United world.

Looking ahead to the 2015 mayoral campaign, the Board of Ethics met yesterday to hash out a series of proposed changes to the city’s campaign-finance regulations.

According to the Inky’s Heard in the Hall blog, the board is seeking to clarify what counts as a campaign contribution in light of the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, which paved the way for unlimited corporate, nonprofit, and union donations in support of — but not directly to or in concert with — candidates.

Among the changes on the table:

• Republication of campaign material would be considered a coordinated effort between donor and campaign and therefore subject to contribution limits.

• Campaign material provided to a third party, including websites such as YouTube, by the candidate would be considered consent for republication (and therefore, subject to the republication provisions).

• Republication would not be considered an in-kind contribution if the material is used against the candidate “that prepared the material.”

Attack-ad producers are breathing a sigh of relief at that last one.

A public hearing on the new regulations is scheduled for September 7th.