A Manhattan lawmaker says NASCAR provides more information about its sponsors than politicians do about their contributors, so he’s introducing legislation that would require pie charts showing where each candidate in a city race gets their money.
Councilman Ben Kallos said his bill would yield the “most transparent” information ever for voters in New York City.
The information would be easily readable in pie chart form and delineate special interest contributions, including contributions from real estate developers and lobbyists. The data would be made available by the city’s Campaign Finance Board, both online and in official voter guides mailed before elections to all voters.
“What if politicians wore NASCAR logos?” Kallos asked.
“In NASCAR, you get to see who is paying right on the hood of the car. A pie chart showing where politicians are getting their money from is the next best thing.”
Kallos said such legislation “might’ve been difficult to get passed years ago,” but he believes now is the time to act.
He is among the growing list of Democratic pols — including City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — who have vowed to no longer take donations from real estate developers.
Mayor Bill de Blasio is not among them.
The bill also includes a poison bill aimed at candidates looking to skirt campaign finance limits.
Retired and unemployed donors would have to disclose the primary source of income in their households to the Campaign Finance Board under Kallos’ plan.
It’s a move aimed at big-money donors who’ve historically relied on homemaking spouses and college kids funneling cash to candidates on their behalf. So if a developer’s unemployed wife gives $3,000 to a candidate, that money would show up on the real estate industry portion of a candidate’s pie chart.
About 10 percent — or roughly $4.8 million — of the $48 million collected by all candidates in the 2013 mayoral race came from persons listed as homemakers, retired or unemployed, according to Kallos’ office.
Eric Phillips, a spokesman for de Blasio, said “the mayor’s always looking for ways to improve transparency in campaign financing. We certainly look forward to reviewing the legislation.”
A spokesperson for Johnson said the council speaker “supports transparency in campaign finance and will review this bill as it goes through the legislative process.”