Tag Archive: campaign finance

Dec 14 2012

Banking With Quontic Will Help Your Campaign

Vice President Michael Serao of Quontic Bank specializes in political candidates banking needs.

Many candidates have always asked my advice on where to do their campaign banking and my answer has always been Quontic Bank.

Navigating the quagmire of campaign finance regulations is not an easy task, and some will say it’s near impossible. Without the right expertise the fine print is often overlooked, which could lead to costly fines and penalties – even disqualification from matching funds. What can a campaign do? Corporate banks are notorious for being impersonal and are not equipped to handle the special needs of political banking in New York City. Could you imagine a representative from Citigroup or J.P Morgan taking calls at midnight? Or showing up to your fundraiser to ensure compliance with federal, city, and state law? What if there’s an emergency, do you have your corporate banker’s cell phone number? With the hectic pace of politics, corporate culture can be too impersonal, often impractical to reach campaign goals and more often than not becomes an unwelcome distraction rather an asset. Quontic Bank has taken a unique approach to fill this need with one-on-one personalized banking especially suited for the needs of political candidates and organizations.

When candidates bank with Quontic, they will have confidence that their specialized and attentive staff is extremely well versed in NYC campaign finance, which sets them apart from competitors. Their staff will work directly with your treasurer and will even come to your fundraiser to ensure compliance with your contributions. But Quontic is not just for veteran politicians (whom often retain them after victory) first time candidates and organizations have also come to appreciate the personal interaction, real service, and a masterful knowledge of the field that Quontic staff like Vice-President Michael Serao brings to each one of his clients. It’s the type of advantage you need to win. Civic and advocacy groups like 501 c(3)’s and 501c(4)’s will also benefit from banking with Quontic. Perhaps you are in charge of a prestigious non-profit group, a political action committee, or just a startup organization. Maybe it’s time to entrust your banking needs to someone with experience in this field. So, when you’re gearing up for the big one in 2013 and you want a fighting chance; don’t let banking become a roadblock for your campaign. Call Quontic today. With two convenient locations in Astoria and Great Neck plus surcharge free ATM’s, insiders agree, Quontic is the clear choice for banking in politics.


Contact: Michael Serao, regional manager / vice president.

31-05 Broadway Astoria, NY 11106

Main: 718-215-4000

Direct: 718-215-4002

Fax: 718-215-4050


Permanent link to this article: https://queens-politics.com/2012/12/candidates-should-bank-with-quontic/

Oct 08 2012

Opponent Blasts Halloran’s Campaign Finance

From The New York Post: Controversial City Councilman Dan Halloran may be locked in a heated battle for Congress, but a bigger problem facing him could be state election regulators and criminal prosecutors.

Halloran (left) is 2 1/2 years in arrears on filing campaign-finance reports for his 2009 Council run, and, as a result, the state Board of Elections has sent the matter to the Albany district attorney for investigation and possible prosecution, The Post has learned.

Election board spokesman Thomas Connolly said Halloran has missed five filing deadlines, dating to January 2010, when the Republican lawyer from Queens first took his Council seat. Election regulators have issued default judgments against Halloran for each absent filing. After a year, board judgments become subject to possible criminal penalties.

As of Friday, Halloran owed the state $3,243 in fines plus interest, which keeps growing, according to records.

Halloran, 40, yesterday offered little excuse, saying, “I don’t file the campaign-finance forms because I’m not the treasurer with the campaign . . . I’m not the treasurer. I don’t know off the top of my head.”

He is facing Democratic Assemblywoman Grace Meng to replace Rep. Gary Ackerman.

Halloran has criticized Meng for, among other things, failing to comply with federal regs requiring congressional candidates to file financial-disclosure forms more than four months after entering the race.

After learning from The Post about Halloran’s situation with the Board of Elections, Meng spokesman Austin Finan tore into the Republican.

“Dan Halloran’s arrogance is dumbfounding,” Finan said. “We fully expect the district attorney’s office to follow through with criminal charges against Mr. Halloran and for the councilman to come clean and explain himself . . . He is either wholly incompetent, supremely arrogant or desperately attempting to hide fundraising improprieties.”


Permanent link to this article: https://queens-politics.com/2012/10/meng-blast-hallorans-campaign-finance/

Jan 16 2012

Ulrich Orders Ingrate Special At Russo’s


Ulrich hurls accusations while members of his inner circle are of questionable integrity.

Like rubbing salt in the old wound.

After the Judge ruled Phil Ragusa as the Chairman plenipotentiary of the Queens GOP, City Councilman Ulrich, who received political help from the GOP during his campaign, gives an old fashion public backstabbing to Robert Hornak and Vince Tabone.

Queens-Politics is outraged. How do people in glass houses throw stones?

Bart Haggerty is Eric’s Chief of staff and rumored to have constructed a special bell tower  for himself in the mansion that John Haggerty – his brother who stole from the Mayor –  in Forest Hills, sort of  like Quasimodo.

Even though Mr. Modo has never been indicted, we are concerned about the involvement he may have had in the 28th A.D Housekeeping account – a one in a kind slush fund that could have been used to pay John Haggertys legal bills, or for an extravagant home in Forest Hills.

Haggerty’s dirty fingerprints are everywhere.

The account was formed as a PAC that  operated out of John’s home, according to a report in the Post. However, full financial disclosure has not been released to the public and seems to be a well-guarded secret.

Some questions remain. How do we know where the money was spent?

Could John have promised the Mayor to oust Phil Ragusa as part of the negotiation?

At least there is full disclosure of the northeast Queens GOP account.

Meanwhile, insiders want to know what are the Haggertys hiding? Is there a cover up perpetrated by the insurgent faction of the GOP?

And this is part of a bigger problem: Where is the unity? Why won’t Ulrich and company sit down at the table of brotherhood instead of driving a wedge into the struggling party?

Democrats are thrilled about the GOP power struggle and are waiting to pick up the shattered pieces.

Please note, a felon is still the treasurer of the housekeeping fund.


Permanent link to this article: https://queens-politics.com/2012/01/ulrich-orders-ingrate-special-at-russos/

Dec 26 2011

Times Editorial Calls On Leery Fence-sitter

You want me to do what!?

“Mr. Cuomo promised to root out corruption and clean up campaign money. It should top his to-do list for 2012,” according to an opinion piece in the New York Times.

Great suggestions, however, the Times neglected to mention the extravagant, family style dinners where a $23 Pecan-walnut salad is paid for by campaign contributors. So, under the present system, when that pol-to-be comes a knockin’ you might as well entice them with a bottle of fine Irish influence because they’ll just use the money to treat friends and family to a night on the town.


This is the wish list compiled by the cunctative daydreamers over at the Times Editorial board.

  • CAMPAIGN SPENDING New York’s law on campaign spending also needs to be overhauled. It is currently so weak that unsuspecting donors end up footing the bill for lawyers, cigars, designer luggage, country club memberships and cars. Joseph Bruno, the former Senate majority leader, once used $1,300 in campaign funds for a pool cover for his indoor pool, arguing that he sometimes had political functions nearby.
  • PUBLIC FINANCING OF ELECTIONS This is a fundamental reform that can be readily achieved if the state simply copies New York City’s system. This is a nationally recognized, voluntary system that rewards small contributions up to $175 with a 6-to-1 match. In 2009, 37 percent of the private money to candidates came from city donors who gave $250 or less. This approach would create healthier elections by encouraging candidates to seek out more small donors and promote competition among candidates.
  • LOWER CONTRIBUTION LIMITS New York State’s contribution limits should be brought into line with those in other states. New Yorkers can give almost nine times as much money to a statewide candidate as donors in New Jersey, where the limit is $6,800 for statewide races.
  • END THE ‘HOUSEKEEPING’ FARCE There are no limits on what a donor can give to a political party for “housekeeping” to maintain a party’s offices and other “ordinary activities” unconnected to candidates. But nobody in Albany really checks on how this money is used, and it’s not trivial. In 2010, New York’s political parties received $11.4 million in housekeeping contributions.
  • TOUGHER ENFORCEMENT The State Board of Elections needs more enforcement authority. The $500 fine for failing to file a campaign finance report, for example, is a pittance some lawmakers simply ignore. New York needs a strong enforcement team with heftier fines, more on par with those imposed by the Federal Election Commission where failure to file can cost thousands of dollars.

Permanent link to this article: https://queens-politics.com/2011/12/times-editorial-calls-on-leery-fence-sitter/

Dec 22 2011

Ognibene Tries To Axe Campaign Finance Regulation

In a not so stunning federal lawsuit, Tom Ognibene, who was once named as an unindicted coconspirator in a case involving bribery unsuccessfully challenged city anti-corruption campaign  finance laws so that he could donate more money to Councilmember Liz Crowley.

Reuters – A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday tossed out a challenge to New York City anti-corruption campaign finance laws, finding the so-called “pay to play” rules do not violate free speech rights.

In an opinion affirming a 2009 lower court ruling, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said city rules prohibiting corporate contributions to political campaigns, and requiring candidates to disclose contributions from people and groups that do business with the city, were appropriate given legitimate concerns about corruption.

“Contributions to candidates for city office from persons with a particularly direct financial interest in these officials’ policy decisions pose a heightened risk of actual and apparent corruption, and merit heightened government regulations,” the opinion by judges Debra Livingston, Guido Calabresi and Paul Crotty said.

The lawsuit, brought by Republican politician Tom Ognibene and others, sought to use the landmark 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission to attack the New York City laws.

In Citizens United, the Supreme Court found that the government cannot ban political spending by corporations in elections. The 2nd Circuit judges said that ruling only applies to independent corporate expenditures, and not to contributions limits such as those enacted in New York.

For the full article: http://newsandinsight.thomsonreuters.com/Legal/News/2011/12_ _December/Challenge_to_NY_campaign_finance_laws_fails__US_appeals_court/

Permanent link to this article: https://queens-politics.com/2011/12/ognibene-tries-to-axe-campaign-finance-regulation/

Oct 14 2011

In Light Of Dubious Allegations John Liu Is Still The American Dream

Here I am watching a Poll site in Flushing, a few hours before John Liu would become Comptroller of the City of New York. I stand by my guy.

An article in the New York Times  raised some scathing questions about the source  of contributions listed on Comptroller Liu’s disclosure reports with the city’s Campaign Finance Board. What do I think? I say this is a waste of time. I’ll let Liu speak for himself:

Liu responds in Michael Howard Sauls article in The Wall Street Journal,

“If there is anything that is not fully above board, I don’t want those contributions, and I don’t need those contributions,” Mr. Liu said in an interview. “What we do is try to dot every I and cross every T.”

Let me tell you a thing or two about John Liu. He is the American dream incarnate. Liu is an effective legislator. During his tenure as Council Member, he would travel everywhere.

I live in Auburndale which is part of greater Flushing and outside his old Council District, but that did not stop him from being everywhere and helping everyone. His staff is fast and responsive and they tend to stick around.  He is a Queens man at heart, he went to Bronx High School of Science and graduated Suny Binghampton with a B.A in Mathematical Physics, whatever that is.

He’s not blue blood. I used to see him on the 7 train headed to City Hall.  I’m sure deep down inside that he feels most comfortable here. It would be nice to have a guy like this as Mayor. Really, it’s true.

Take a look at my new street light. Take a look at my new stop signs by my house. It’s all thanks to John Liu.

As Comptroller, Liu’s audits have recovered millions of dollars while saving 700,000 individual pension benefits. He’s also an advocate of LGBT rights. Many of his accomplishments tend to go under the radar, that’s because the nature of his position as Chief Financial officer. He’s a number cruncher that works on behalf of tax payers – to make sure we get the most out of our buck.

Liu has the responsibility for auditing city agencies, city contracts, and advising the mayor and city council about the city’s financial situation.

For a full list of his legislative accomplishments click here. 

I live across the street from a car lot. Sometimes they get neglected. Sometimes they become a dump. With one phone call, John Liu tracked down the owner and had the entire place cleaned up.

When John Liu ran his campaign – I volunteered on it – he tapped immigrant communities yearning for a voice in government. They helped him win the election.

I feel a little bit of xenophobia going around especially  when I mentally picture NYTimes journalists in downtown Flushing on Farrington or Prince Street at dusk for an ‘investigation.’  

If you don’t know the neighborhood, then you don’t know the neighborhood.  I think it will blow over soon and we’ll be calling him Mayor, especially if I have anything to do with it.

John C. Liu is the 43rd Comptroller of the City of New York, the first asian-american to hold a city-wide office, independently elected and sworn into office on January 1st 2010.


Permanent link to this article: https://queens-politics.com/2011/10/johnliu/

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