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NY attorney general calls on elections board to close LLC loophole

By Shaun Zinck | Apr 16, 2015

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman | New York Attorney General

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman asked the New York State Board of Elections (BOE) on Wednesday to close a loophole in state law that allows individuals and corporations to contribute virtually unlimited funds to political campaigns across the state.

Schneiderman made the request in a letter to the board the day before members were to consider the loophole during a public meeting at the state capital in Albany. He said the “LLC Loophole has made a mockery of the campaign finance rules enforced by the Board of Elections.”

Schneiderman called on state lawmakers a month ago to close the loophole while also discussing other more comprehensive reforms to campaign finance and ethics laws. The letter states “with the prospects of real reform on hold indefinitely, the BOE must not squander this chance for progress.”

Under the law, limited liability corporations are treated as people instead of corporations and are allowed to donate up to $60,800 to elections statewide per election cycle even if the corporations are owned by the same person. 

The loophole also allows major donors to prevent their identities from being revealed through multiple business entities, which “defeats the transparency and accountability that are the bedrock principles of the existing campaign finance system,” Schneiderman said.

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