On Monday, April 27th, the NYS Senate Elections Committee voted to move Senator Daniel Squadron’s LLC bill S60 to the Senate Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions. Although this could be seen as a stalling tactic, the pressure Common Cause NY and our allies put on Senators helped push them to pass the bill out of Committee. Senate rules require that the LLC loophole bill must be taken up within the next two meetings of the Corporations Committee, and we will keep the pressure on, however the fate of this legislation is uncertain.
Just before the Elections Committee meeting, Common Cause NY joined Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Senator Squadron and our allies to urge reform on the LLC loophole. Over 5,000 New Yorkers signed a petition urging Senators to pass the bill out of Committee, this was in addition to over 11,000 New Yorkers who sent messages directly to the Board of Elections the previous week urging them to close the LLC loophole administratively.
The Senate Committee vote came quickly after the NYS Board of Elections deadlocked in a 2-2 vote along party lines, leaving in place its backward and outdated 1996 advisory opinion that treats limited liability companies (LLCs) like individuals, rather than corporations. The Board’s failure to close the LLC loophole cast a revealing light on the dysfunction of our politically controlled election administration.
This is a bipartisan issue—allowing this loophole to continue leads voters across the political spectrum to believe that their state government is up for sale. Common Cause NY will not stop fighting this egregious, out of step interpretation that keeps voters in the dark about contributors who pour millions of dollars into New York political campaigns. We will continue to pressure the Governor and State Legislature to close the loophole before the end of this legislative session. The Assembly Election Law Committee is considering matching legislation (A6975A Kavanagh) to deal with the problem.