dinapoliA report released this week by the Board of Elections provides an assessment on the one-time public financing program for the state comptroller’s race in which none of the major and minor party candidates actually received any matching funds.

The results for the board were inconclusive, given that none of the candidates for comptroller actually received any matching funds for their campaigns, the board found.

“The State Board was prepared to administer the entire program but anticipated potential problems with a full program roll out because of the extremely short implementation timeframe,” the report concludes. “With no qualified participant or full program implementation, it is difficult and somewhat impractical for the Board to make comments to improve the program.”

In the seven-page report, the Board of Elections calls for a longer time frame to implement the program, at least two years.

At the same time, the BOE called for funding that would provide software to help implement a public financing program and audit payments.

In addition, the report recommends a deadline for submission of an opt-in certification be April 1 of election year, while the threshold for being eligible for the program be met by July 15 of the same year.

Incumbent Democrat Tom DiNapoli, who ultimately won re-election last year, did not participate in the program, and neither did Libertarian candidate John Clifton, or the Green Party nominee, Theresa Portelli.

Republican Bob Antonacci, the Onondaga County comptroller, did seek public matching dollars, only to not raise enough money to qualify for the program.

The public matching program was approved in the state budget in 2014 as a compromise with Senate Republicans and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who was under pressure that year from good-government advocates and public-financing supporters to create a public financing system.

At the time, the program was described as a “pilot” public financing system, but it was only developed to for the one comptroller’s race with no automatic re-approval.

DiNapoli, a public financing supporter who had initially recommended a pilot program for the comptroller’s race, had blasted the system approved by Cuomo and the Legislature for being developed in the middle of the election cycle.

Ultimately, DiNapoli raised more than $6 million for his re-election effort. Antonacci, who struggled with gaining traction through small donors, received an average contribution of $261.28, ultimately raising $223,398.

Final Public Financing 2014 Report by Nick Reisman