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Jan. 15, 2013

New York State Attorney General Proposes Regulations to Require Disclosure of Electioneering Activities by Nonprofits

Public Citizen Testifies in Support of Transparency

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Public Citizen’s Craig Holman testified today in New York supporting proposed regulations by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman that would require nonprofit groups to disclose their expenditures and sources of funds used for electioneering activity.

The activities of nonprofit organizations registered in New York, including 501(c)(4) organizations, are subject to regulation by the New York State Attorney General’s office. The proposed rules would, among other things, mandate disclosure of contributor and expenditure data by politically active nonprofit groups. The proposed regulations would make some limited exceptions to protect donor privacy when there is a risk of harm from disclosure. Following hearings and public comment, the regulations would take effect this year and apply to any nonprofit that raises and spends substantial funds in New York state and local elections.

“Nonprofit groups have become the favored vehicle for laundering corporate money for campaigns purposes, cloaking the true source of the funds,” said Holman, “New York’s proposal would bring to light much of the Dark Money that has been enabled by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United v. Federal Election Commission ruling, and it should serve as a model for other state and federal regulators.”

At the federal level, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently announced that it, too, will consider requiring publicly traded corporations to disclose political spending.

“We have just gone through federal and state elections financed heavily by secret corporate slush funds,” Holman added. “Knowing who is spending money to influence our vote is a public right. Americans are demanding that our next elections be open and transparent.”

Holman’s testimony is available at http://www.citizen.org/documents/ny-ag-testimony-on-proposed-electioneering-spending-disclosure-rule.pdf.

 

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