Mayoral candidate Shaun Donovan got some good news – and a check for almost $1.5 million – on Thursday from the city’s Campaign Finance Board, which last week had delayed the payment to investigate any ties between Donovan’s campaign and a political action committee that’s funded by his father.
"We are grateful for the CFB’s swift action to resolve this issue, as well as to the thousands of New Yorkers who donated their hard-earned dollars to support our campaign of ideas,” Donovan Campaign Manager Brendan McPhillips said in a statement. “This decision upholds New York City's unique, progressive campaign finance system as a model for the nation.”
Last week, while announcing a total in payments of more than $10 million to other campaigns, the CFB said it was deferring the decision to grant Donovan’s campaign public funds, requesting information about any potential conflicts with New Start NYC, a political action committee running television commercials in support of his campaign. The main contributor to New Start NYC is marketing executive Michael Donovan, the candidate’s father, who has already donated $3 million. By law, super PACs, which are not subject to contribution and spending limits, cannot coordinate with the campaign they are supporting.
“After reviewing additional information, including statements from Shaun and Michael Donovan, the Board voted to approve a public funds payment to the New Yorkers for Donovan campaign today. The campaign will be subject to an ongoing, post-election audit, just like all campaigns in this election,” the Campaign Finance Board said in a statement.
Donovan, who served as Housing Commissioner under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and as HUD Secretary and Budget Director under President Barack Obama, hasn’t been as successful with fundraising as some of his rivals. Qualifying for public funds will help his campaign not only financially, but also with potentially securing a spot in the television debates scheduled for next month.
According to the latest Spectrum News NY1/Ipsos poll, Donovan is the mayoral top choice of 6% of Democratic likely voters, well behind Andrew Yang, Eric Adams, Scott Stringer and Maya Wiley.
Last week, the CFB doled out first payments to three campaigns: Yang got $3,724,112; Kathryn Garcia was awarded $2,265,561; and Dianne Morales got $2,247,681. Wiley added $906,437 to the more than $1.9 million she had received in the previous cycle. At this point, Stringer and Adams have gotten more than $5 million each in public funds.