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AG proposes tougher campaign finance disclosures

By THOMAS ADAMS - 12/12/2012 3:06:49 PM

Regulations proposed Wednesday by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman would require non-profits to disclose how much they spend on political campaigns.

Groups spending $10,000 or more to endorse candidates for federal, state and local offices in New York would have to file itemized schedules of expenses and contributions, Schneiderman said. Those disclosures would be available to the public, he said.

The regulations would apply to non-profits, including 501(c)(4) organizations, registered in New York.

The proposal is in response to the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision involving the Citizens United 501(c)(4) and the Federal Election Commission, Schneiderman said in a statement released by his office.

The court ruled that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting campaign contributions from corporations and unions.

“More money is being spent on our elections, with less disclosure of where that money is coming from, than ever before,” Schneiderman said. “By shining a light on this dark corner of our political system, New York will serve as a model for other states, and for the federal government, to protect the integrity of non-profits and our democracy.”

The new regulations are expected to go into effect in 2013, following public hearings in New York City, Albany, Buffalo and on Long Island.

Written comments will be accepted by the Attorney General’s office until March 6, 2013, after the regulations are published in the State Register on Dec. 26.

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