ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday he is introducing eight separate bills to close the LLC campaign contribution loophole in New York State.
The bills, one for each elected political office in the State, would require limited liability corporations (LLSs) be treated as traditional corporations, capping campaign contributions at $5,000.
The bills would also prevent LLCs from circumventing disclosure requirements; a change the Governor’s office says would ensure businesses do not wield an outsized influence in politics and elections in New York State.
Governor Cuomo says the LLC loophole is widely abused by companies taking advantage of the gap in State Law by setting up numerous LLCs to donate millions of dollars to political campaigns, candidates for public office, and elected officials in New York.
“For years, I have proposed closing the LLC loophole – one of the most egregious flaws in our campaign finance system – and every year the bill has stalled,” said Governor Cuomo.
Since 2010 14 separate bills have been introduced in the State Legislature to close the LLC loophole.
Each of the eight bills closes the LLC loophole for a different category of candidates including:
1. Everyone (all candidates for state political office)
2. Candidates for Governor and the State Legislature
3. Candidates for Governor and State Senate
4. Candidates for Governor and State Assembly
5. Candidates for Governor, the Attorney General and the Comptroller
6. Candidates for Governor and the Attorney General
7. Candidates for Governor and the Comptroller
8. Candidates for Governor
“Pass all of them, or as many as you’d like,” said Governor Cuomo. “But at a minimum, pass the one impacting anyone running for the office of the Governor. I will go first – pass it and I will sign it into law today.”
Opponents of the bills say closing the LLC loophole fails to address the root cause of the problems in the campaign finance system, such as a lack of enforcement, transparency and disclosure.
Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan released a statement Tuesday calling Cuomo’s proposal a “red herring”.
Flanagan is calling for increased efforts to clarify and enforce currently existing campaign finance laws, and a move to stop the funneling of big money through county organizations, and to stop non-profits who he says “flout transparency and who donate unlimited sums to directly support a politician’s agenda.”
“If the Legislature and Governor are serious about reforming our campaign finance system and restoring the public trust,” said Flanagan. “It won’t achieved by closing the LLC loophole, but rather through a comprehensive bipartisan approach that addresses the reality of the post-Citizens United landscape and brings disclosure and sunlight to the Capitol.”