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The $68,639 Question

by Thomas MacMillan | Jan 31, 2013 12:01 pm

(12) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: City Hall, Politics, Campaign 2013

Now that incumbent John DeStefano has withdrawn from this year’s mayoral race, he has to decide what to do with the nearly $70,000 still in his campaign chest.

The most recent campaign finance filings for the DeStefano for Mayor committee indicate that the committee had $68,638.88 on hand as of Dec. 31, 2012.

DeStefano announced Tuesday afternoon that after 10 two-year terms in office he will not seek reelection. He’s New Haven’s longest serving mayor.

DeStefano’s retirement raises a number of questions: What will he do next? Who will enter the race? And—What will happen to all the money he raised for the 2013 reelection campaign that he has abandoned?

DeStefano and his campaign treasurer both said they don’t have an answer to that question yet.

“I haven’t thought about it yet,” the mayor said when asked Tuesday.

With the August Democratic primary still months away, DeStefano had already raised nearly $90,000 this election cycle, according to campaign finance disclosure statements. After spending $18,736.12, the committee reported having nearly $70,000 on hand.

With DeStefano out of the race, the committee has a couple of options of what to do with that money, said Josh Foley, an attorney with the State Elections Enforcement Commission.

Any time before the election, DeStefano may give the money to any tax-exempt 501-c3 not-for-profit organization. Or he may give it back to all contributors, on a pro rata basis. He may not give the money to another political campaign before the election.

After the election, DeStefano has more options, Foley said. He could still take either of the first two options, or he could distribute the money to a party committee or a political committee or to a citizens election fund.

He’d have until the Jan. 31, 2014 to shut down the campaign committee by distributing all the money and submitting a final financial statement, Foley said.

“We’ll be meeting to discuss what we will do to properly close that account,” said DeStefano campaign treasurer Stan Kontogiannis.

“I assure you as treasurer, everything will be done transparently, clean, and by the books,” he said.

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posted by: kenneth_krayeske on January 31, 2013  9:32am

Mayor DeStefano -

You can donate the monies to the New Haven Democracy Fund. The Fund is asking the City for a $200,000.00 replenishment for the 2013-2014 budget year. The Fund understands the austerity climate and how difficult it will be for the City to find money for the Fund.

Thus, this $70,000.00 would go a long way towards strengthening the Fund.  Such a vote of confidence in the Fund from its creator could help inspire all Mayoral candidates this cycle to participate in the Fund. 

At the minimum, it would be great if you replenished the Fund with the $11,850.00 that your campaign received as matching funds in 2007, and the $11,390.00 that your campaign received as matching funds in 2009.

Thank you in advance for your time and cooperation, and the Fund looks forward to a positive response from you.

Regards,
Kenneth J. Krayeske
Administrator
New Haven Democracy Fund

posted by: HhE on January 31, 2013  9:54am

I am a bit curious about the $18,736.12 question.

I bet his supporters think that was money well spent.

posted by: anonymous on January 31, 2013  10:24am

I agree with Kenneth. And any Candidaes who DON’T participate in the fund should be automatically disqualified from consideration by voters. Lets get Money out.

posted by: cedarhillresident! on January 31, 2013  10:25am

Totally agree Ken.

And same with you Hhe I wonder?

posted by: Dee Rien on January 31, 2013  11:07am

I’m guessing that among the $18,000 spent is a poll that told him he was going to lose badly if he stayed in the race.

posted by: newhaven55 on January 31, 2013  11:16am

Perhaps he should return the funds to the donors.  Many employees of the City were expected to donate funds. This does not create the best working conditions or environment. I hope the situation changes with the new administration.

posted by: Threefifths on January 31, 2013  11:28am

Give it to crooked politicians who need help with their legal bills.

posted by: Curious on January 31, 2013  12:06pm

How about a non-profit to build a statue of him on the Green?  You know, kind of like the “DeLauro Family Table” oddity that he commissioned for Wooster Square, without asking anyone in Wooster Square about it.

posted by: HhE on January 31, 2013  12:48pm

Thank you Dee Rien.  Then I guess that was money well spent, albeit, I could have told him that for free. 

kenneth_krayeske and newhaven55 both have good ideas.  Either would be an act of decency, that would be a better note than any other to go out on. 

cedarhillresident!, what I am NOT wondering about is the two $370 cheques I wrote to our two good candidates.  Any add on candidates can go use a mechanical fastener.

posted by: anonymous on January 31, 2013  3:45pm

“kenneth_krayeske and newhaven55 both have good ideas.  Either would be an act of decency, that would be a better note than any other to go out on.”

Yes. Would someone please start a public petition to this effect?

posted by: Mister Jones on February 1, 2013  1:26pm

Are you sure about the legality of your proposal, Kenneth Krayeske?  Pretty sure the Democracy Fund is not a section 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation. By doing so, his campaign committee would be indirectly funding other campaigns, which is prohibited:  “He may not give the money to another political campaign before the election.” If there are multiple mayoral candidates, some who participate in the Democracy fund and at least one who does not, then the campaign committee would be indirectly funding the participating candidates against the non-participating one(s).  You might think this is laudable, but it seems to contradict the spirit, if not the letter, of the law.

posted by: kenneth_krayeske on February 1, 2013  2:05pm

Mister Jones -

Not sure if your name is a reference to Bob Dylan’s the Ballad of the Thin Man, but if it is, and as Dylan says, you are very well read, it’s well known.

So I won’t point out to you that Josh Foley, the attorney for the State Elections Enforcement Commission, indicated above that DeStefano can give surplus funds to a citizens election program.

Regards,
Kenneth J. Krayeske
Adminstrator
New Haven Democracy Fund

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