By BENJAMIN SARLIN, Special to the Sun | September 19, 2008The city's Campaign Finance Board is ordering a former City Council speaker, Gifford Miller, to pay $13,835 in fines for violations incurred during his unsuccessful mayoral run in 2005.
The bulk of the penalties, announced yesterday, stem from a fine for violating campaign spending limits. Mr. Miller did so by $10,410, and will now have to pay the same amount in fines. In addition to that penalty, Mr. Miller was issued violations for improper post-election expenditures ($750), for accepting nine over-the-limit contributions ($1,125), for accepting four contributions from unregistered political committees ($500), for accepting two contributions from corporations ($250), and for failing to properly report certain donations and expenditures ($850).
An attorney for the Miller campaign, Laurence Laufer, said yesterday that his client would pay the fines and that the cost of challenging the ruling in court would likely exceed the violations themselves.
"The Miller campaign has always made clear that it would abide by the city's campaign finance rules and we are pleased that after this complete three-year audit that the CFB found it was in virtually complete compliance," Mr. Laufer said in an interview. "The campaign chose not to contest the few minor violations that are alleged here."
Mr. Miller clashed with the Campaign Finance Board during his 2005 mayoral run, claiming that $1.4 million in spending should not have been counted against his overall spending limit. After initially refusing to follow the board's decision, the state Supreme Court refused to block the board's ruling, leading him to cancel a series of ads he had planned to air with the money, according to the New York Times.
Also yesterday, an unsuccessful candidate for City Council in Brooklyn in 2007, Karlene Gordon, was ordered to pay $3,900 in fines for a series of violations, including accepting over-the-limit contributions, making non-campaign and improper post-campaign expenditures, and failing to respond to an audit before a deadline.