Definition and Analysis of "Doing Business"

Client: New York City Campaign Finance Board
Faculty: Charles Brecher
Team: Mary Fischietto, Eric Friedman, Paul Nelson, Anat Tamir, Kara Merrill Verma
Year: 2006
The New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB) is a nonpartisan, independent agency created in 1988 to administer the Campaign Finance Program, which limits the role of private money in City elections by providing qualifying campaigns with public matching funds. In 1998, the CFB was charged with considering requirements for regulating campaign contributions from individuals or entities who “do business” with the City. Subsequent to the creation last year of an online database of entities that hold City contracts (VENDEX), CFB asked the Capstone team to study campaign donations from sources that might be trying to gain “business” through their contributions. The study examines a random sample of campaign contributions made during the 2001 and 2005 citywide election cycles. Analysis of this quantitative study, combined with a qualitative look at other potential sources of “doing business” donations, informed a set of policy recommendations aimed at curbing the influence of these donations on public policy decisions.