“Pro-Yang PACs take shape as New York mayor’s race enters prime time”

It’s well-known that one of the issues to keep in mind about public-financing of elections in the United States — whether traditional forms of public financing or small-donor matching funds approaches to public financing — that there is still likely to be significant amounts spent by outside groups, including SuperPacs. Public financing does not and could not eliminate that, given that Buckley v. Valeo protects the right of independent spending. In competitive contests where a lot is perceived to be at stake, large amounts of independent spending will take place, despite the candidates receiving public financing. That is starting to happen with the NYC mayor’s race, as this Politico story reports:

A top-tier political consultant is launching an effort to boost Andrew Yang’s candidacy with a goal of raising $6 million for TV ads — one of at least three political action committees in the works to propel the current front runner to City Hall.

Lis Smith, a senior adviser to Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign, is in talks with potential donors and staff about forming a PAC that would operate outside the city’s strict campaign finance limits to counter negative advertising against Yang, several people familiar with the calls told POLITICO.

She has partnered with Declaration Media, a national Democratic firm founded by a trio of veteran political operatives: Admaker AJ Lenar, who worked on Obama’s presidential campaign; Meredith Kelly, communications director for Kirsten Gillibrand’s White House bid; and Trey Nix, campaign manager for North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper….

At least one PAC does not share warm feelings toward Yang: Our City, a group formed by Justice Democrats’ Gabe Tobias, is beginning to raise money to counter Yang’s rise in the polls.

“We want to make sure that a progressive candidate wins the mayoral race, and make sure that no voters go in voting for a conservative, nonprogressive candidate and that’s definitely Andrew Yang,” Tobias recently told POLITICO.

These groups are the latest to promise a limitless flood of cash into the race, and campaign finance laws prohibit the PACs from coordinating with the campaigns.

Food & Water Action, an environmental organization that endorsed Stringer in January, recently formed a PAC in support of his campaign.

An independent expenditure committee backing former Obama and Bloomberg official Shaun Donovan received $2 million from the candidate’s father and earmarked even more than that, with a planned $3 million TV ad buy, according to data from AdImpact.

A PAC supporting Wall Street executive Ray McGuire has raised $4 million and booked more than $1.6 million in TV and radio spots.

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