Campaign spending flows ahead of constitutional convention vote
The campaigns for and against a constitutional convention may be only every 20 years, but spending by supporters and foes this year is on par with expenditures in a hotly contested election.
Top pro and con convention forces have spent more than $1 million combined this year, according to filings with the state Board of Elections. Additional spending is expected before voters head to the polls on Election Day to cast ballots on whether to hold a constitutional convention, which would take place in 2019.
New Yorkers Against Corruption, a wide-ranging coalition of unions and special interest groups opposing a convention, has spent $743,108.27 since July, according to its 32-day pre-general election filing. It had $616,893.69 left though more donations are expected.
Among the notable donors to that group this year are the powerful SEIU 1199 health care union ($250,000), New York State United Teachers ($100,000) and the Public Employees Federation ($100,00)
NY People’s Convention, a political action committee formed by convention supporter Bill Samuels, has spent $189,697.55 since July, leaving the group with a closing balance of just $257.97.
Samuels has been the committee’s main source of funding this year, dropping $238,045 on convention efforts.
Another pro-convention group — the Committee for a Constitutional Convention, managed by former counsel to Gov. Mario Cuomo Evan Davis — has spent $42,051.76 since July, giving it a closing balance of $12,404.56.
That group’s donors include former Lt. Govs. Richard Ravitch ($2,000) and Stan Lundine ($500) and former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman ($500), among others who have worked in state government or held state office.
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