The Journal News by Keith Eddings - March 5, 2009
WHITE PLAINS, NEW YORK - An effort by city Democratic leaders to force a local Political Action Committee tied to Mayor Joseph Delfino to make its financial records available stalled last week when an appeals court blocked - at least temporarily - a lower court's order. The Appellate Division issued the stay to give the PAC time to make its case that state Supreme Court Justice Francis Nicolai had usurped the powers of the state Board of Elections. Nicolai ordered the Year 2001 Committee PAC to make its ledgers, bank statements, checking accounts, bills and vouchers available to the Democrats. Guy Parisi, a lawyer for the PAC, said courts cannot rule on disputes over campaign finance before the Board of Elections does. Parisi also argued that forcing the PAC to open its books would endanger "the preservation of the two-party system." He said the documents the Democrats are seeking "relate to internal affairs of a rival political party and are not required to (be) filed with the Board of Elections." The Elections Board requires candidates and political parties and committees to file regular financial disclosure forms detailing their fundraising and spending. It does not require them to file bank statements, bills and other financial documents, but they must keep those documents for five years.