Political candidates and committees in New York tallied up at least 103,805 violations of state campaign-finance laws since 2011, according to an Albany-based good-government group.
The New York Public Interest Research Group detailed the violations — nearly all of which went unpunished — in a report released Tuesday. They range from 278 corporations giving more than the state-mandated limit of $5,000 total to more than 44,800 instances of a campaign donation reported with no address listed for the person making the payment.
The report covers breaches uncovered in filings made between January 2011 and January 2013, according to Bill Mahoney, the paper’s author.
“These range in severity quite a bit,” said Mahoney, NYPIRG’s research coordinator. “Some of them are flagrant violations of the state’s contribution limits. Others are minor peccadilloes that show a complete disregard for the law because they occur in such frequent numbers.”
Among those with a high number of minor violations were Sen. Greg Ball, a Patterson Republican who reported 995 campaign donations of at least $49 with an incomplete or missing address for payees. Mt. Vernon Mayor Ernie Davis is second on the list with 479 incomplete donor addresses, followed by Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane, Niagara County, with 411.
Justin Wagner, Ball’s 2012 opponent, was fourth with 379.
The report was released ahead of a Senate Election Committee hearing on campaign-finance reform, which kicked off Tuesday morning. Senate Republicans have been staunchly opposed to a public campaign financing system, which would match small donations to campaigns with public funds.
The hearing, which will focus on a potential public-financing system, was knocked by good-government groups as a “sham.” Proponents of public campaign financing rallied outside of the hearing, chanting loudly after several were kept out of the low-capacity room.