Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) is eligible to receive additional funding from the city, but the newly elected councilman for northeast Queens said the money could have been more useful during last fall’s campaign season and that it must all go toward paying off debts accrued for mailing and printing costs.
Amanda Konstam, a spokeswoman for the city Campaign Finance Board, said Halloran will receive a Tier 2 bonus due to the post-election filings of his Democratic opponent Kevin Kim, who did not participate in the city’s matching funds program.
Candidates can receive Tier 2 bonuses after their opponents earn three times the spending allocation of $161,000, or $483,000. Once qualifying for the bonus, a candidate can receive up to $1,500 in matching funds per contributor and their spending limits are eliminated.
But Halloran said he never received the bonus despite Kim’s total funds exceeding $600,000.
“I could have gotten an additional $100,000,” Halloran said. “It would have been useful in the last two weeks of the campaign. This is the inherent flaw in the campaign finance system. It’s a great idea in theory because it helps level the field. But here is a perfect example of how someone in the program did not get what they should have gotten. There should be some form of penalty for misreporting on a scale like this because it harms the integrity of the whole process.”
According to the finance board, Halloran raised $53,074 in private funds and received $102,568 in public funds. He spent a total of $145,079 on the campaign. Campaign finance records show that Kim raised $636,230 and spent $643,390.
Michael Nussbaum, a spokesman for Kim’s campaign, brushed off Halloran’s accusations that his opponent did not adequately report his campaign contributions.
“I wish Dan Halloran mazel tov that he will get a bonus from the Campaign Finance Board,” he said. “I don’t know what the problem is. The Kim campaign complied with all regulations and all filings were done on a timely basis. The board had no problem with our filings.”
Halloran said the money he will now receive from the city must be used toward paying back the estimated $60,000 he owes in printing and mailing fees.
“Vendors don’t want to wait a year to get paid, so I’ve had to raise money to pay them off,” he said. “I’ll get enough to pay off my debts and the rest will go back to the city.”
Halloran accused Kim’s campaign of purposely under-reporting its funds to prevent him from receiving the Tier 2 bonus.
“Questions like these are handled through the audit process,” Campaign Finance Board spokesman Eric Friedman said of Halloran’s accusation.
The councilman will meet with civic group leaders, Community Board 11 members and nonprofit representatives Saturday at his district office, which is at 166-08 24th Road in Whitestone. He said he plans to hold a monthly round table with community leaders.
“They’ll come in to meet with me about the issues of the district and we’ll find answers together,” he said.
The meeting is open to the public.
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.
©2010 Community News Group
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