This article was updated at 2:32 p.m.
NEW YORK—Comptroller candidate Scott Stringer sent a letter to fellow candidate Eliot Spitzer on Monday asking the former Governor to abide to a $4 million spending limit required by candidates who participate in the city’s public matching funds program in this year’s elections.
To qualify under the program for public matching funds at this late date, candidates could only file using “extraordinary circumstance.”
A candidate may use “extraordinary circumstance” only with the death of a candidate, the resignation or removal of the incumbent, or when a candidate terminates a campaign, according to the law, which is posted on the Campaign Finance Board website.
With Stringer still alive and presumably not resigning his candidacy, and no incumbent, Spitzer would not be eligible for “extraordinary circumstance” under campaign finance law.
In the past, candidates have sued in an attempt to get public matching funds past the deadline, claiming it was an arbitrary date. They all lost, according to a Campaign Finance Board spokesperson.
If Spitzer spends more than $4 million, it could actually benefit Stringer.
Once a non-participating candidate (Spitzer) spends more than 50 percent of the spending limit, which in the case of the comptroller’s race is just over $4 million, the candidate in the matching funds program (Stringer) gets an increase in his spending limit to 150 percent.
This means Stringer’s camp would be allowed to spend $6 million once Spitzer spends more than $2 million.
If Spitzer spends $12 million, the spending limit on Stringer would vanish.
Stringer would not be eligible for more matching funds, but could increase the amount of private funds received.
When asked at the press conference about the increased limit, Stringer said, “We would adhere to the spending limits.” He clarified saying he would only spend $4 million if Spitzer agreed.
“We have a pretty good grass roots campaign. We will be viable, no matter what he does,” Stringer said.
Spitzer will face off with Stringer on primary election day September 10.