Independent Expenditures Portal
Want to learn more about the campaign ad you just saw? Or the funders behind the ad? This is the place to do it.
See all ads by the group or individual you are interested in or see the contributions behind those ads.
2019 Special Election
|"Paid for by..."||Advertisements||Contributions|
|Lexington Democratic Club 2019||Ads||$7,700|
For previous election cycles, please see the archive.
How to use FTM | NYC Data Portal for independent expenditures
Learn more about independent groups and the money they've spent on NYC politics.
What is an independent expenditure?
Television ads, mass mailings, and other campaign materials are considered independent expenditures if they are produced and distributed without approval by or cooperation with a candidate or campaign.
Independent expenditures must be reported if they express support for or opposition against a clearly identified candidate or ballot proposal, or if they mention a clearly identified candidate or ballot proposal shortly before an election.
What is an independent spender?
An organization or person that makes an expenditure to produce or distribute campaign materials without coordinating with or seeking approval from a candidate is considered an independent spender.
How can I tell if a political communication is from a candidate or an independent spender?
Almost all political communications are required to have a “paid for by” notice identifying who paid for the communication. This lets voters know who is responsible for the communication.
Are there limits on how much independent spenders can spend on an election?
No, the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. FEC decided that freedom of speech prohibits government from restricting independent political expenditures by organizations. However, the court upheld requirements for public disclosure by sponsors of advertisements.
New York City voters adopted a provision in the City Charter that calls for strong independent expenditure disclosure regulations. The CFB implemented those disclosure rules in 2012, ahead of the 2013 elections.
What candidates and ballot proposals are on this site?
The Campaign Finance Board regulates independent expenditures that target candidates for city office and citywide ballot proposals. City offices are Mayor, Controller, Public Advocate, Borough President and City Council Member.
Can independent spenders and candidates work together?
No! An independent expenditure is one that no candidate has authorized, requested, suggested, fostered, or cooperated in. An independent spender cannot coordinate with a candidate concerning an independent expenditure.
Specifically, coordination could refer to discussions between a candidate and an outside group about the content or distribution of a leaflet, or the involvement of a candidate’s staff member or agent in planning an outside advertisement, for example.
What type of information do independent spenders need to disclose to the public?
Independent spenders that are organizations must disclose their officers, owners, partners and board members, while individuals must disclose their employment information. When a communication is distributed, a copy must be filed. Independent spenders must report each expenditure directly related to the design, production, or distribution of the communication. Payment must be disclosed, along with any discounts or payments by third parties.
What is a “paid for by” notice?
”Paid for by” notices show who paid for the communication. The “paid for by” notice for print ads must include the following elements: the name of the independent spender, the names of the spender’s CEO and principal owner, and the names of the top three donors. Notices for video, broadcast and other media will always include the name of the independent spender, but may not include all of the other elements. “Paid for by” notices will also include a brief statement of independence and a link to this page.
Are there any campaign materials that are exempt from reporting?
Yes. Personal phone calls, in-person communications, free website content, emails, text messages, and free social media posts are not covered. Communications by an organization to its members or stockholders are also not covered.
I saw an ad, but I don’t see the spender listed on the website. Why not?
Independent spenders must file public disclosures once they have spent $1,000 or more supporting or opposing a specific candidate or ballot proposal. If the $1,000 threshold hasn’t been reached, no reporting is required.
It is also possible that the deadline for the independent spender to publicly disclose the spending in question has not occurred yet. During the two weeks preceding an election, independent expenditures that satisfy the disclosure threshold must be reported within 24 hours. Communications that occur two weeks or more prior to the election must be reported according to filing deadlines.
Why aren’t there any contributors listed for an independent spender?
Independent spenders must disclose the contributions they have received once they have spent $5,000 or more supporting or opposing a candidate or ballot proposal. No contributors will be reported when the independent spender is an individual.