Edward-Isaac Dovere’s lengthy piece on the Working Families Party and their company, Data and Field Services–and how it may be violating city campaign finance rules barring coordination between campaigns and political parties–boils down to the W.F.P.’s inability to provide paperwork detailing the specific work people are getting paid for.
(Jerry Goldfeder has been warning about this for some time.)
W.F.P. spokesman Dan Levitan defended his group in an email to reporters:
In order to conform with the law, WFP staff leave the party’s payroll and work for DFS when they are assigned to campaigns. This is very similar to the established practice of government employees in Congress or in the State Senate and Assembly going off staff at election time and transferring onto a campaign payroll, then transferring back again when the election is over.
No WFP funds are used to subsidize CFB candidates. No WFP employees or resources are used to subsidize CFB candidates. All work on behalf of campaigns is paid for by the campaigns within the expenditure limits established by the CFB. In addition, there is no independent expenditure being made by the WFP on behalf of any candidate, and Mr. Dovere offers no evidence to the contrary.
At one point in the story, it says John Liu’s campaign, in addition to Richard Aborn’s, did not say whether they would use D.F.S. (It should be noted that Aborn is running for Manhattan D.A., which is not under the auspices of the city campaign finance rule.)
When asked, a spokeswoman for Liu’s campaign emailed me to say that they would not use D.F.S.
Here are some highlights from the story:
Bill de Blasio held a petition drive inside the Working Families Party headquarters, organized by a W.F.P. worker [corrected].
The W.F.P. executive director Dan Cantor said his organization created Data and Field Services to turn a profit, which would then be donated back to the W.F.P.
Debi Rose said she was unfamiliar with D.F.S., even though her campaign manager said Rose was the person who told the campaign to hire them.
Jimmy Van Brammer wrote a check to D.F.S. that the W.F.P. cashed, according to an analysis of city and state campaign finance records.
S.J. Jung’s campaign manager referred to W.F.P. worker Bryan Collinsworth as “our spokesman,” even though the campaign has not paid D.F.S. or W.F.P. for any work.
Danny Dromm’s campaign manager is a W.F.P. employee who is still getting her normal salary from the organization.
John Gutierrez of the Mirram Group, speaking on behalf of Lynn Shulman’s campaign, said they have a weekly conference call with the Working Families Party.
UPDATE: Jerry Goldfeder, an election lawyer whose letter to the city Campaign Finance Board, I reference at the top of this item, called to say, “We sent a request to the C.F.B. to clarify general ambiguities about coordination. We received their response. We didn’t know anything about the City Hall article.”