Requires entities advertising for or against political candidates, ballot proposals, amendments, or such proceedings to disclose in such advertisements the source thereof; trade associations must disclose top 3 contributors; defines trade association.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the election law, in relation to the disclosure of sources for political advertisements
PURPOSE: The purpose of this bill is to ensure that the public is fully informed of the sources of political advertisements in support of or in opposition to a candidate, or a ballot proposal or constitutional amendment, in order to prevent the sponsors of such communications from concealing their interests in the outcome by acting through third parties, such as trade associations.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1: Adds a new election law section Sec. 14-107, which defines independent expenditures and those affected by the bill, such as trade associations, and requires that whenever a person or trade association makes an independent expenditure of more than one thousand dollars for a political advertisement or other communication to the general public, the one paying for it must be identified, and the communication must state that it is not authorized by the candidate or his or her committee. If the sponsor is a trade association, it must disclose its three largest contributors since January first of the year in which the advertisement is published, and, if the advertisement is made with respect to a presidential primary race, it must disclose the three largest contributors since July first of the year before the primary. Willful violation of these provisions is punishable by a civil penalty of up to $1,000 or the cost of the communication, whichever is greater, and the attorney general is given concurrent jurisdiction with district attorneys to prosecute such offenses.
Section 2: Provides that the Act takes effect immediately.
EXISTING LAW: None.
JUSTIFICATION: This bill is a response to the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election commission, which effectively eliminated restrictions on corporations' ability to spend corporate treasury funds in support of or in opposition to political candidates, political parties and ballot issues. Disclosure of corporate funding of political advertising is viewed by many as at least a partial solution, as it will empower the press to investigate the interests being served by the political advertising, and allow the public to make informed decisions regarding the weight to be given to such advertising. Because recent statements by some corporate leaders have indicated that they would try to hide their political expenditures by contributing to trade associations that could buy political advertisements without disclosing the source of their funding, this bill requires that such trade associations disclose in any such advertisements their three largest contributors.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2010: S.7479 - Advanced to Third Reading Calendar. 2011-2012: S.1566 - Referred to Elections.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to the state.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This bill is effective immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 1921 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 9, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. ADDABBO -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Elections AN ACT to amend the election law, in relation to the disclosure of sources for political advertisements THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The election law is amended by adding a new section 14-107 to read as follows: S 14-107. INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURE REPORTING. 1. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, THE FOLLOWING TERMS SHALL HAVE THE FOLLOWING MEANINGS: (A) (I) "INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURE" SHALL MEAN AN EXPENDITURE MADE BY A PERSON FOR AN AUDIO OR VIDEO COMMUNICATION TO A GENERAL PUBLIC AUDIENCE VIA BROADCAST, CABLE OR SATELLITE OR A WRITTEN COMMUNICATION TO A GENER- AL PUBLIC AUDIENCE VIA ADVERTISEMENTS, PAMPHLETS, CIRCULARS, FLYERS, BROCHURES, LETTERHEADS OR OTHER PRINTED MATTER AND STATEMENTS OR INFOR- MATION CONVEYED TO FIVE HUNDRED OR MORE MEMBERS OF A GENERAL PUBLIC AUDIENCE BY COMPUTER OR OTHER ELECTRONIC DEVICES WHICH: (A) EXPRESSLY ADVOCATES THE ELECTION OR DEFEAT OF A CLEARLY IDENTIFIED CANDIDATE OR THE SUCCESS OR DEFEAT OF A BALLOT PROPOSAL OR AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITU- TION OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK AND (B) SUCH CANDIDATE, THE CANDIDATE'S POLITICAL COMMITTEE OR ITS AGENTS, OR A POLITICAL COMMITTEE FORMED TO PROMOTE THE SUCCESS OR DEFEAT OF A BALLOT PROPOSAL OR ITS AGENTS, DID NOT AUTHORIZE, REQUEST, SUGGEST, FOSTER OR COOPERATE IN ANY SUCH COMMU- NICATION. (II) INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES SHALL NOT INCLUDE: (A) A COMMUNICATION APPEARING IN A WRITTEN NEWS STORY, COMMENTARY, OR EDITORIAL DISTRIBUTED THROUGH THE FACILITIES OF ANY BROADCASTING STATION, CABLE OR SATELLITE UNLESS SUCH PUBLICATION OR FACILITIES ARE OWNED OR CONTROLLED BY ANY POLITICAL PARTY, POLITICAL COMMITTEE OR CANDIDATE; OREXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD04491-01-3 S. 1921 2
(B) A COMMUNICATION THAT CONSTITUTES A CANDIDATE DEBATE OR FORUM; OR (C) A COMMUNICATION WHICH CONSTITUTES AN EXPENDITURE MADE BY AN ENTITY REQUIRED TO REPORT SUCH EXPENDITURE WITH A BOARD OF ELECTIONS. (B) "PERSON" SHALL MEAN A PERSON, GROUP OF PERSONS, ENTITY, ORGANIZA- TION OR ASSOCIATION. (C) "TRADE ASSOCIATION" SHALL MEAN AN ENTITY HAVING AS A PRIMARY PURPOSE THE PROMOTION, ADVANCEMENT OR SELF-REGULATION OF BUSINESSES, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO A CORPORATION, UNINCORPORATED ASSOCIATION, PARTNERSHIP, TRUST OR LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY, WHETHER OR NOT SUCH ENTITY IS ORGANIZED FOR PROFIT, NOT-FOR-PROFIT, BUSINESS OR NON-BUSINESS PURPOSES. 2. WHENEVER ANY PERSON OR TRADE ASSOCIATION MAKES AN INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURE THAT COSTS MORE THAN ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS IN THE AGGREGATE, SUCH COMMUNICATION SHALL CLEARLY STATE WHO PAID FOR, OR OTHERWISE PUBLISHED OR DISTRIBUTED, THE COMMUNICATION AND STATE, WITH RESPECT TO COMMUNICATIONS REGARDING CANDIDATES, THAT THE COMMUNICATION IS NOT AUTHORIZED BY ANY CANDIDATE, ANY CANDIDATE'S POLITICAL COMMITTEE OR ANY OF ITS AGENTS. A KNOWING AND WILLFUL VIOLATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL SUBJECT THE PERSON OR TRADE ASSOCIATION TO A CIVIL PENALTY EQUAL TO ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS OR THE COST OF THE COMMUNI- CATION, WHICHEVER IS GREATER, IN A SPECIAL PROCEEDING OR CIVIL ACTION BROUGHT BY THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS. ANY ADVERTISEMENT PAID FOR BY A TRADE ASSOCIATION SHALL DISCLOSE THE THREE CONTRIBUTORS WHO CONTRIB- UTED THE MOST MONEY IN THE AGGREGATE TO SUCH TRADE ASSOCIATION SINCE THE FIRST OF JANUARY OF THE YEAR IN WHICH THE ADVERTISEMENT IS PUBLISHED, PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT IF THE ADVERTISEMENT IS MADE WITH RESPECT TO A PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY RACE, THEN IT SHALL DISCLOSE THE TRADE ASSOCI- ATION'S THREE LARGEST CONTRIBUTORS IN THE AGGREGATE SINCE THE FIRST OF JULY OF THE YEAR PRIOR TO SUCH PRIMARY. 3. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW, THE ATTORNEY GENERAL SHALL HAVE CONCURRENT JURISDICTION WITH ANY DISTRICT ATTORNEY IN THE PROSECUTION OF ANY OFFENSES UNDER THIS SECTION RELATING TO DECEPTIVE PRACTICES AS WELL AS ANY OFFENSES ARISING OUT OF SUCH PROSECUTION. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.