Democratic State Senate candidate Julia Salazar has over $70,000 in unitemized political contributions in the last two campaign finance filing periods.
Salazar is challenging incumbent State Sen. Martin Dilan (D-Bushwick, Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Cypress Hills, East New York, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville) who has served seven terms in the State Senate.
Almost a third of the donations to the democratic candidate are unitemized for the July filing period, and another third for the recent 32 day filing period, meaning the names of the donors are not attached to the individual donations.
Although this is legal under New York Campaign finance laws, some candidates report all of their donations as a sign of transparency.
According to the New York campaign finance laws, there is no requirement that the donations have to be disclosed. Blair Horner of the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), a group that serves as a watchdog in the political process in New York, said there is no legal issue when it comes to not disclosing individual donations.
“In terms of unitemized contributions, the law requires that donations under $99 do not have to be itemized. So, if the contributions are small, there is no requirement that they be disclosed,” he said.
When reporting individual donations, those that exceed $99 need to disclose the name of the donor, the address of the donation, and the total amount that was donated.
Bob Liff, a spokesperson for the Dilan campaign, said given Salazar’s record, or lack thereof, she owes it to New Yorkers to disclose the contributions she has received across the board, not just large donations.
“A challenger who was a Republican in Florida until last year may not know New York campaign laws, but it strains credulity that her campaign filing accurately and legally reports who is giving her money. There is nothing that stops her from reporting small donations, if that is what they are. We know she has been raising money at fundraisers hosted by people like hedge funders and from big financial firms. It is the essence of dark money not to report contributors,” Liff said.
The Salazar campaign said that the unitemized contributions only show the strengths of their grassroots campaign.
“Julia’s unitemized donations in the first six months of 2018 include over 1600 small-dollar donations from individual supporters–an average contribution of less than thirty dollars. Meanwhile, Senator Dilan received just 20 contributions from individuals in the same period; 93% of his donations were from PACs, lobbyists and law firms, and his average donation size was over $900. Julia is proud to have attracted the support of thousands of volunteers and grassroots donors for her campaign and proud to be the only candidate in this case who has refused all donations from corporations, PACs, lobbyists and big real estate,” said Michael Kinnucan, a spokesperson for the Salazar campaign.
The New York board of elections database backs up their claim of not receiving any donations for corporations. For the July filing period and the recent 32 Day Pre Primary report, the campaign did not list any Schedule B contributions, which are reserved for corporate donations.
As this item was about to post, the Salazar campaign said they’ve decided to re-file their past two filings with all their small-dollar donations itemized. The new filings should be online in a couple of days, the Salazar campaign said.
The primary is Sept. 13.