Press Center

 

For Immediate Release:

Contact:

September 12, 2013

Susan Lerner, Common Cause/NY, (212) 691-6421

 

 

Jobs for NY Scorecard: PAC Underperforms $5 Million Investment
City Campaign Finance System Thwarts REBNY's Effort to Buy City Council Elections

 

 

Due to the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, the 2013 primary elections in New York City experienced an onslaught of unprecedented spending from outside interests.

 

The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) established a Political Action Committee (PAC) called "Jobs for New York" (JFNY) and raised nearly $7.1 million. Jobs for New York raised its funds from just 25 REBNY member companies who used 121 different LLC's and subsidiaries to circumvent New York State campaign contribution limits and donate an average of $277,400 each.

 

In the City Council primaries, Jobs for New York spent nearly $5 million on mass mailings, flyers, phone banking, and advertising in 22 races. Jobs for New York spent $4.2 million on expenditures in support of its chosen candidates and $722,000 on expenditures attacking their opponents. Common Cause/NY has produced a scorecard of Jobs for New York's attempt to influence the City Council elections.

 

Although described by the press as an effort by the real estate industry to form a "counterweight" to the labor-backed Working Families Party (WFP), Jobs for New York actually supported the same candidates as the WFP in 13 of the 22 races.

 

When Jobs for New York backed candidates opposed by the Working Families Party, Election Day yielded a low rate of return for the REBNY backed PAC. New York City's campaign finance program, which provides public matching funds, allowed non-JFNY backed candidates to remain competitive despite being vastly outspent.

 

Fast Facts

 

  • In 6 races, JFNY opposed Working Families Party backed candidates. They spent an average of $316,000/race but only won two of the races, achieving a 33% success rate.
  • In 13 races, JFNY endorsed the same candidates as the WFP, spent an average of $206,000, with a success rate of 92%. There is one pending recount that might give them a 100% success rate.
  • The other 3 races include District 9 in Harlem, where Inez Dickens was backed by JFNY but WFP was neutral, the Republican primary in CD 50, and the race for CD 5 in which JFNY spent just $1,200 backing Micah Kellner's unsuccessful campaign.
  • In 7 separate races JFNY spent over $300,000/campaign. Of their top investments, they won 2, lost 3, and 2 are headed to recount

 

"Thanks to the counterweight of the public matching system, City Council candidates were overwhelmingly able to communicate with voters despite REBNY's best efforts to manipulate the discourse. In their top seven priority races, Jobs for New York spent over $2 million but failed to claim more than just two Election Day victories. That's a terrible rate of return on a big investment, but good news for voters. The big winner this Election Day is the City's campaign finance system which continues to amplify the voice of average New Yorkers." said Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY. "The new crop of Council Members should commit themselves immediately to supporting legislation introduced by CM Lander which would further curtail the influence of big dollar special interests."

 

Data & Analysis

 

I. Jobs For New York vs. Working Families Party

 

Jobs for New York's excessive spending, by itself, was no guarantee of success. Where JFNY backed candidates were actively opposed by the Working Families Party and/or Progressive Caucus, JFNY's success rate was a dismal 33%.

 

DISTRICT

CANDIDATE SUPPORTED BY JFNY

TOTAL JFNY SPENDING

OUTCOME

MARGIN

RESULT DETAILS

19

Vallone, Paul A

$369,785.28

RECOUNT

1.6%

Vallone leads by roughly 150 votes over Austin Shafran (WFP endorsed) with recount pending

27

Caughman, Manuel

$317,177.43

LOST

7.2%

Daneek Miller (endorsed by WFP and Progressive Caucus) leads other candidates by roughly 400 votes, Caughman far behind in 4th place

38

Gonzalez, Sara M

$346,220.63

LOST

15.2%

Carlos Mancheca (WFP endorsed) wins

37

Espinal, Jr., Rafael L

$217,536.78

WON

14.5%

Incumbent Espinal defeats WFP and Progressive Caucus backed candidate

47

Treyger, Mark

$311,412.49

WON

16.7%

Treyger defeats WFP backed candidate

48

Kagan, Ari

$333,932.34

LOST

3.3%

Both Kagan and the WFP and Progressive Caucus backed candidate Igor Oberman lose to Chaim Deutch

 

 

II. Candidates Backed by Both Jobs for New York and Working Families Party

 

Thirteen candidates were backed by both JFNY and the WFP, 6 of whom were also backed by the Progressive Caucus. These candidates all won except Kirsten Foy (CD 36) who is currently behind in a recount.

 

DISTRICT

CANDIDATE SUPPORTED

TOTAL SPENDING

OUTCOME

MARGIN

15

Torres, Ritchie

$377,867.42

WON

15.0%

36

Foy, Kirsten J

$347,817.17

RECOUNT

0.6%

07

Levine, Mark D

$294,164.29

WON

23.5%

46

Maisel, Alan

$284,163.38

WON

18.6%

1

Chin, Margaret S

$281,704.49

WON

17.0%

35

Cumbo, Laurie A

$256,714.55

WON

9.4%

22

Constantinides, Costa G

$235,572.21

WON

33.7%

11

Cohen, Andrew J

$221,588.13

WON

35.6%

16

Gibson, Vanessa L

$212,254.18

WON

27.3%

12

King, Andrew L

$47,082.23

WON

25.0%

24

Lancman, Rory I

$41,779.91

WON

40.6%

31

Richards, Donovan J

$37,502.24

WON

15.2%

14

Cabrera, Fernando

$34,857.91

WON

50.2%

 

 

 

III. Top Seven Races Where Jobs for NY Spent Over $300,000

 

DISTRICT

CANDIDATE SUPPORTED

TOTAL SPENDING

OUTCOME

MARGIN

15

Torres, Ritchie

$377,867.42

WON

15.0%

19

Vallone, Paul A

$369,785.28

RECOUNT

1.6%

36

Foy, Kirsten J

$347,817.17

RECOUNT

0.6%

38

Gonzalez, Sara M

$346,220.63

LOST

15.2%

48

Kagan, Ari

$333,932.34

LOST

3.3%

27

Caughman, Manuel

$317,177.43

LOST

7.2%

47

Treyger, Mark

$311,412.49

WON

16.7%

 

 

 

IV. Jobs For New York Donors

 

 

"Jobs For New York" Donor Amount Contribution Details
THE DURST ORGANIZATION $637,500.00 7 contributions through 7 LLC's
THE RELATED COMPANIES $500,000.00 6 contributions through 4 LLC's
BROOKFIELD FINANCIAL PROPERTIES $450,000.00 4 contributions through 3 LLC's, 1 LP
FISHER BROTHERS $425,000.00 4 contributions through 4 LP's
GLENWOOD MANAGEMENT $425,000.00 17 contributions through 17 LLC's
JACK RESNICK & SONS $425,000.00 8 contributions through 8 LLC's
RUDIN MANAGEMENT $425,000.00 5 contributions through 1 LLC, 4 LP's
SILVERSTEIN PROPERTIES $425,000.00 2 contributions through 2 individuals and 2 LLC's
SL GREEN $425,000.00 3 contributions through 3 LLC's
TISHMAN SPEYER $425,000.00 6 contributions through 5 LLC's
NEWMARK GRUBB KNIGHT FRANK $420,000.00 28 contributions through 28 LLC's
JAMESTOWN PROPERTES $250,000.00 1 contribution through 1 LP
TISHMAN CONSTRUCTION/TISHMAN HOTELS $250,000.00 2 contributions through 2 individuals and 1 LLC
TWO TREES MANAGEMENT $250,000.00 2 contributions through 2 LLC's
HIMMEL & MERINGOFF PROPERTIES $212,500.00 15 contributions through 15 LLC's
TF CORNERSTONE $212,500.00 2 contributions through 2 individuals
THE BRODSKY ORGANIZATION $187,500.00 4 contributions through 4 LLC's
ROCKROSE DEVELOPMENT CORP $150,000.00 2 contributions through 2 LLC's
L&L HOLDINGS $100,000.00 1 contribution through 1 LLC
THE WITKOFF GROUP $100,000.00 1 contribution through 1 LLC
VORNADO REALTY TRUST $100,000.00 1 contribution through 1 LLC
THE GOTHAM ORGANIZATION $85,000.00 4 contributions through 4 LLC's
BFC PARTNERS $25,000.00 1 contribution through 1 LLC
STELLAR MANAGEMENT & CHETRIT GROUP $25,000.00 1 contribution through 1 LLC
ATCO PROPERTIES $5,000.00 1 contribution directly through corporation

 

 

Additional Background

 

In an August 26th Daily News op-ed Susan Lerner proposed that candidates commit to a "People's Pledge" to reduce outside spending. She also called on the City Council to pass legislation introduced by Councilman Brad Lander which would require PACs to list their top five donors on all campaign advertising. Read the op-ed here: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/big-bucks-damage-democracy-article-1.1439766

 

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Related Files

 

Jobs for NY Release - 9-12-13 - PDF Version

 

Jobs for NY - Spending Summary Excel Doc - 9-12-13

 

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