Green Party of New York
Michael O’Neil, co-chair, Green Party of NY State
Albany – The New York State Green Party said today that the Commissioners of the New York State Board of Elections should move immediately to close the infamous “LLC Loophole” that allows limited liability corporations to skirt corporate campaign finance laws and donate $150,000 a year to candidates. The Green Party pointed out that the Board of Elections can choose to reclassify LLCs as corporations for campaign finance purposes without approval from the Legislature or Governor Cuomo, putting a $5000 cap on donations. Green Party representatives said that while this would be an important reform, only full public campaign financing at all levels will eliminate New York State’s pay-to-play politics.
“The people of New York State are sick and tired of the constant corruption scandals in state government, and overwhelmingly support major campaign finance reform to remove the influence of money in politics. It is simply obscene that due to a BOE ruling from 1996, LLCs are treated as individual donors and not corporations, and donors can set up as many as they wish to flout campaign finance laws again and again. Last year LLCs gave $20 million to state and local political races, including $800,000 to Andrew Cuomo from LLCs started by the developer Leonard Litwin and his real estate company Glenwood Management, the same Leonard Litwin named in the ongoing Sheldon Silver corruption investigation, said party co-chair Michael O’Neil.”
“What is most absurd is that this simple campaign finance reform could be done with the stroke of a pen if three State Board of Elections Commissioners agreed, with no need for backroom three – or is it four – men-in-a-room negotiations. The fact that they haven’t done so in nearly twenty years, even after the Federal Elections Commission did so in 1999 – shows the need not just for full public campaign finance reform but also changes at the Board of Elections. Serious ethics reform in Albany starts with low-hanging fruit like closing the LLC loophole and ends with fully publicly financed elections and a BOE that isn’t beholden to corporate party interests, said party co-chair Gloria Mattera.“