Today’s news:

Campaign finance report contained an error

The New York City Campaign Finance Board has a system in which candidates must file electronically regarding their campaign fund−raising and expenditures. The most recent filing deadline was Monday, March 11. I filed by that deadline to show that my campaign had raised $11,030 — 95 percent of which I raised in the last two months.

Unfortunately, an error in the CFB database prevented my filing from being processed on March 11th, unbeknownst to me. It wasn’t until Wednesday, March 13, that I received a CFB phone call stating their database was unable to process my filing. The remedy was to print out and mail an amended form to CFB, which I did within 24 hours of their phone call.

In the interim, a TimesLedger article was published stating that my campaign had only raised $440. I do not blame the TimesLedger for this. Your reporters had no way of knowing about the CFB error. No one knew about it until I was called on by CFB. Their Web site has now been corrected and reflects the accurate total of $11,030.

It’s important for the public, my supporters and local activists to know that I am actively raising money as a candidate for City Council in District 19.

Additionally, readers would benefit from the reporting of fund−raising numbers in the context of New York City’s matching−funds program. Every candidate in my City Council race is participating in this program. It gives a candidate $6 for every dollar raised on roughly the first $15,000 raised by a candidate, with some restrictions. The maximum amount given by the city is then approximately $90,000.

To receive these funds, candidates agree to abide by spending caps. The spending cap for 2009 is roughly $162,000. This means that the best−financed candidate in this race will spend no more than $162,000 this year while the worst−financed spends at least $105,000. As this is the case, the reporting of one candidate raising nearly $100,000 overlooks the fact that that candidate will have, at best, an 8:5 spending advantage over even his most poorly financed opponent.

This presumes that each candidate will qualify for matching funds. We all believe we will do so.

The people need to know that $100,000 raised in this race is less advantageous than it first appears.

Tom Cooke

City Council Candidate

District 19

Bayside

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