Video: A.G. Schneiderman At Hearing In Buffalo On Disclosure Requirements For Nonprofits Engaged In Electioneering


BUFFALO – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman delivered opening remarks today at a hearing in Buffalo on his proposed election disclosure requirements for New York nonprofits registered with the Attorney General’s office.

Video of the Attorney General’s remarks is available online here:

In December, Attorney General Schneiderman announced new regulations requiring nonprofit groups, including 501(c)(4) “social welfare” organizations that are registered with the state, to report the percentage of their expenditures that go to federal, state and local electioneering. Those groups that spend at least $10,000 to influence state and local elections in New York will be required to file itemized schedules of expenses and contributions. Under the proposed new rules, those disclosures will be released to the public.

The following are excerpts from the Attorney General’s statement at the start of today’s hearing:

On the Influence of “Dark Money” on Campaigns: “Last November, we got a glimpse of what can happen when nonprofits that conceal the identity of their donors invade our electoral process. We saw more than $400 million dollars in undisclosed funding flood into the American political system in 2012… Big, secretive campaign expenditures have the potential to do even more damage in local elections – like those that you’ll be holding here in Buffalo this year. We are here today to say ‘not in New York State.’”

On Protecting New York Charities & Donors: “The fact that these groups lay claim to nonprofit status creates a particularly offensive form of confusion. Most New Yorkers understand nonprofits to be organizations that provide important public benefits, not vehicles for flooding the airwaves with campaign ads. Because that is what they are supposed to be. Our proposed regulations will keep New York donors informed, and protect them from being misled.”

On Overturning Citizen’s United: “We need to develop a long-term strategy to address unregulated flows of money into the political process. New Yorkers, like all Americans, need to have faith in their government and their elected leaders. This means stopping corruption – and the appearance of corruption – that comes from unregulated political cash. Let me be clear, and maybe even a little bit blunt: We need to create the record for a successful effort to overturn Citizens United.”

On Campaign Finance Reform: “We need to expand public campaign financing systems. The Supreme Court has made it difficult to lower the ceiling on spending by special interests, but we can raise the floor with public financing and give all candidates a chance to compete.”

The fourth and final hearing on the proposed regulations will be Wednesday, February 27 in Mineola, NY.