December 27, 2012 •
New York Adopts Independent Expenditure Rules
The essence of the rule will force people who make independent expenditures to disclose funding and amounts spent by treating them as a political committee. Therefore, they will have to register as an independent expenditure committee and, for those elections in which they support or oppose a candidate, file reports before and after the election. The committee will also be responsible for filing periodic reports on January 15 and July 15 of each year.
Independent expenditures are defined by the state as expenditures made in support of or opposition to a candidate, expressly advocating for the election or defeat of a candidate, and made in complete independence from the candidate. Expressly advocate is defined as communicating with specific words calling for the election or defeat of a candidate, such as “vote,” “oppose,” “support,” “defeat,” “elect,” or “reject.”
Using these definitions, groups can avoid registering and reporting as an independent expenditure committee if they avoid using the special buzz words that would make their advertisements expressly advocating. The board of elections has said these rules are not completely new, but rather have been adopted to shed light on the rules and to ensure that people understand exactly what is expected when making independent expenditures. The rules have already taken effect and committees making these expenditures will next have to file a report on January 15, 2013.
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