JCOPE Denies Source Of Funding Shield To 4 Groups
The state’s top lobbying and ethics regulator on Tuesday denied applications to four organizations that had sought to be excluded from donor disclosure requirements.
The groups seeking the carve out from donor disclosure include the abortion-rights group Family Planning Advocates of New York, the New York Civil Liberties Union and the Women’s Equality Coalition, an organization that had been set up to support Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 10-point women’s agenda last year.
New Yorkers For Constitutional Freedoms, a socially conservative organization that opposes abortion and same-sex marriage, was also denied an application for a donor-disclosure exemption.
The exemptions would have covered at least until July 15, and the Family Planning Advocates had initially been up for an exemption that would have covered three years, but that was denied as well.
The public vote was taken by the commissioners of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics after a disclosure exemption was quietly granted in June for NARAL Pro-Choice New York.
After the exemption was made, JCOPE’s leadership altered its regulations to require that votes be taken in public for exemption applications.
Given the changes to the disclosure regulations, NARAL’s exemption will expire in July, as opposed to 2016, JCOPE Chairman Daniel Horwitz said. NARAL can re-apply for its exemption at that time, Horwitz said.
The 2011 ethics law that created JCOPE required new disclosure of how non-profit organizations that seek to influence public opinion in the state are funded.
Officials at the organizations have argued that their organizations should have their donors shielded given the sensitive nature of their advocacy. The 2011 does include a provision that would carve out a disclosure exemption for groups whose donors could receive reprisals for their contributions.
But after NARAL’s exemption was granted in secret, Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos raised objections to the decision.
At the time, the coalition of women’s groups backing the 10-point agenda, which included an abortion-rights component, were hammering Skelos for not allowing a vote on the measure.
“By providing this exemption solely to NARAL Pro-Choice NY, and tabling any further consideration of additional exemptions, JCOPE provides an avenue for donors to evade public disclosure by laundering political contributions through NARAL Pro-Choice NY,” Skelos wrote at the time.
JCOPE will provide written explanations to the organizations as to why its exemptions were denied.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on January 28, 2014 at 1:26 pm, and is filed under Ethics. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|