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The Empire

Good gov groups blast Board of Elections over new transparency requirements

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In a joint release, the state's leading good government groups blasted the state's Board of Elections over a set of draft regulations governing that they say would allow huge sums of money to be spent in elections without proper disclosure to the public of who's behind the spending.

The board is mandated under a law passed last year to draft rules to govern"independent" campaign spending. The rules were supposed to be in place by January 1, 2012. The first draft was published yesterday.

"The current draft applies only to spending by individuals and committees which expressly tells voters to support or oppose a candidate. Advertisements that criticize a candidate’s positions on issues a week before Election Day would fall outside of these limited parameters," the release said.

The groups also criticized what the say as lax rules for filing information on who is spending in elections. While campaigns, candidates and political parties are held to relatively strict spending rules, outside groups and individuals wouldn't even be required under the draft rules to tell the public which campaigns they spent money on, charge the good government groups.

"Members of the public who hope to figure out how much money was spent on their legislators’ races will be unable to do so," the release said. "While independent expenditures, like every other committee, will need to submit copies of their advertisements to the State Board of Elections, these are not due until nearly a month after elections."