Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s campaign finance practices appears to have inspired new legislation.
Assemblyman Dan Quart, a Manhattan Democrat, has introduced legislation that would impost special restrictions on campaign contributions for district attorney candidates. Candidates would be required to disclose any contributions from law firms that represents defendants in criminal proceedings and there will be limits on contributions from people or corporate entities that have “legal dealings” with a district attorney’s office.
Vance has repeatedly made recent headlines because of allegations that political contributions influenced his actions, including a decision not to bring sexual assault charges against Harvey Weinstein. He also had to return multiple contributions from Donald Trump’s lawyer after declining to pursue a criminal case against Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr.
Vance has indicated that he might rethink accepting contributions from law firms.
According to the bill text, a “legal dealings database” would make it clear if a person or organization was restricted by the new rules, which would limit their possible contributions to $320 annually. Last week, Quart wrote a letter to state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman about the contributions received by Vance and urged an investigation.
There isn’t currently a same-as bill in the Senate.