June 21, 2016 •
New York Governor, Legislature Announce Five-Point Ethics Reform Plan
In an end-of-session bipartisan push, the Legislature and governor have come to agreement on ethics reform measures.
Their five-point plan includes the following:
- With more disclosure measures in place, super PACs are now able to give and receive unlimited contributions if they do not coordinate with a candidate;
- Public officers convicted of corruption may face revocation or reduction of their pensions;
- First-time political consultants will be required to disclose when they simultaneously represent political officeholders and private sector clients with government business;
- The reporting thresholds for organizations who lobby on their own behalf has been lowered from $50,000 to $15,000 while individual limits have been lowered from $5,000 to $2,500;
- Contributions over $2,500 to organizations engaged in lobbying must now also be reported to JCOPE; and
- 501(c)(4) organizations will now be required to disclose funding if they engage in political activity and receive any financial support and in-kind donations from 501(c)(3) organizations.
Other new features from the plan include imposition of fines up to $10,000 or the amount of promised contingency fees for anyone violating the state’s prohibition on contingency fee lobbying, a delineation excluding all communication with journalists from the definition of lobbying, and more due process rights for individuals being investigated by the Joint Commission of Public Ethics (JCOPE), including the right to a hearing.
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