by Ted Carroll, Guest Columnist
In our previous commentary we searched for 2015 city council campaign contributors and expenditures originating strictly within the bounds of our parochial 10580 zip code. But as Watergate’s Mr. Throat might well have said – “don’t limit yourself.”
Taking this advice we’ve expanded our sweep to lay our electronic public record dragnets across the world (or at least across the U.S.) And now, low and behold, we’ve discovered a stream of additional election season lucre not picked up by our prior local-only focus. That makes our previously reported 10580-only sweep totals artificially low.
Some of this outside money came from political organizations related to local resident politicians but domiciled in neighboring communities. Some of it looks like support from candidate friends and family. Some is from ‘commercial interests.’ Others, well, we can only guess. Maybe readers can help by posting clues in the MyRye comments column. As before, all amounts & percentages are rounded.
Worldwide, Rye Democrats raised more than twice as much as Rye Republicans ($36,392 vs. $17,305) and from 119 separate donors v. 24 for Republicans.
- The Democratic Party contributed $7000, which accounted for 19% of the total amount they raised.
- The Republic Party apparently contributed zero dollars for 0% of the total amount they raised.
- Democrats started raising the earliest with several contributions recorded as early as July and arriving from as far away as Los Angeles and as close by as Mamaroneck.
- Democrats spent heavily – $31,917 of their $36,392 raised or 88% of the pot.
- Republicans apparently raised nothing until the day after the final contribution reporting cutoff date before the election. Then essentially 100% of their funds arrived the next day (October 20th) with 84% of it from interests all apparently linked to a single Rye industry.
Raising & Spending – The Democrats:
In both the raising and spending of funds Democrats outstripped Republicans and did it earlier. Democrats raised $36,392 from 119 separate donors and spent 88% of it or $31,917. Almost all of the funds raised arrived before the final reporting Cut-Off Date prior to the election of October 19th. Democrat spending items were dominated by composition and printing ($19,855) followed by postage ($5,920).Democrats spent $5,154 of their printing and postage funds in town with The Rye Record, and sent $4,215 of it to Hometown Media Group in Port Chester (owner of The Rye City Review). Two of the three Democratic candidates apparently gave funds by name to the campaign accounting for $2,620 or 7%10% of overall contributions. One of the candidates was reimbursed $1,704 for expenses incurred on behalf of the effort.
Raising & Spending – The Republicans:
In both the raising and spending of funds Republicans did it late. Very late. Republicans raised $17,305 or less than half of what Democrats raised, and spent 37% of it or $6,499. Substantially all of the funds raised arrived the day after the final reporting Cut-Off Date prior to the election of October 19th. Republican spending items were dominated by printing which totaled $4,450 or 69% of funds spent followed by ad production of $1749 or 27% of funds spent. Republican’s apparently utilized one of their three candidates for paying for or providing printing services. One of the three Republican candidates who is a sitting Councilmember apparently gave funds by name to the campaign accounting for $1,000 or 6% 7% of overall contributions. That same candidate was reimbursed $300 for expenses incurred on behalf of the effort.
Fat Cats – The Democrats:
Excluding the Democratic Party contribution of $7,000, the top percentage donors to the Democrats in this election included:
- 22% ($6,330) from a politically active Rye household (plus an out-of-town family member) that recently secured a substantial property assessment reduction.
- 7% ($2,050) from one of the three Democratic Party candidates.
- 7% ($2,000) from a Rye household of prolific political donors exceptionally lucky over the years in matters of permits, permissions and assessments issued by Rye City Hall.
- 3% ($1,000) from a Mamaroneck based political entity of a Rye resident politician.
- 3% ($1,000) from another Mamaroneck based political entity of a different Rye resident politician (Mamaroneck must be a great place for – politician bank accounts?)
- 3% ($1,000) from- someone from Minneapolis.
- 3% ($1,000) from a Rye donor and seasonal resident of our “magical” Hen Island, which he describes further as “A perfect way to rough it, right here in Rye.”
(And, while not qualified as a top tier ‘Fat Cat,’ the Democrats also booked a contribution of $250 from a donor who is a current Republican District Leader and former GOP Councilman and was Campaign Manager for a previous Republican Mayor.) (And, while not qualified as a top tier ‘Fat Cat,’ the Democrats also booked a contribution of $250 from a donor who was previously a Republican District Leader, Councilman and acted as Campaign Manager for a previous Republican Mayor.)
Fat Cats – The Republicans:
Excluding the Republican Party contribution of $0, the top percentage donors to the Republicans in this election included:
- 84% ($14,500) combined from eight local residential builders and suppliers (67%) and (17%) from one recent custom home client of one of the builder contributors.
- 6% ($1,000) from one of the three Republican candidates.
- 10% ($1805) from all 15 other non-builder related contributors combined.
- No other current or prior GOP councilmember or GOP mayor apparently gave a dime of reported financial support to their Republican ticket.
And, regarding this apparently coordinated ‘midnight hour’ delivery of this Republican ‘money bomb,’ NYS campaign contribution disclosure laws exist for a reason. City residents can draw their own conclusions concerning these activities, but it’s fairly obvious this party has serious transparency issues, among others.
Lastly, your humble commentator here – contributed a total of $0 (worldwide) to either campaign – was recently awarded a property assessment reduction by one court, then had it taken away by another – worked behind the scenes in this election to educate and promote those he thought would help bring transparency and accountability back to Rye – and split his votes over both parties.
Ted Carroll is a lifelong Rye resident, a Certified Public Accountant, and a partner at Noson Lawen Partners, a media industry private equity firm.
Want more? Enjoy reading Carroll's source documents and do some sleuthing yourself:
Corrections – a previous copy of this story contained an incorrect percentage for the contributions from two Democratic Party city council candidates. It also mischaracterized the status of a Republican Party official who donated to the Democratic Party. He is a current Republican District Leader and former GOP councilman and he was the Campaign Manager for a previous Republican Mayor.