AG Schneiderman: Campaign Finance Disclosure

Thursday, December 13, 2012

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman explains the draft legislation he's issued that would require non-profit groups to disclose campaign spending.



Eric Schneiderman

Comments [15]

It would be satisfying to listen to a genuine discussion that included some attempt to defend First Amendment principles. Unfortunately this was not it. I have to pretend to wonder why no one ever mentions the ACLU position on Citizens United - I'm really not satisfied with the possibility that the researchers for this show were not aware of the ACLU's positions.

" . . . It is also useful to remember that the mixture of money and politics long predates Citizens United and would not disappear even if Citizens United were overruled. The 2008 presidential election, which took
place before Citizens United, was the most expensive in U.S. history until that point. The super PACs that have emerged in the 2012 election cycle have been funded with a significant amount of money from individuals, not corporations, and individual spending was not even at issue in Citizens United."


The ACLU and Citizens United
March 27, 2012

" . . . We understand that the amount of money now being spent on political campaigns has created a growing skepticism in the integrity of our election system that raises serious concerns. We firmly believe, however, that the response to those concerns must be consistent with our constitutional commitment to freedom of speech and association. For that reason, the ACLU does not support campaign finance regulation premised on the notion that the answer to money in politics is to ban political speech. . . . "


“The worst thing you could do – the absolutely worst thing you could do – is transform a civil liberties organization into a liberal political organization,” Mr. Abrams, one of the most famous First Amendment laywers in the country, told the board. . . ."

I'm thinking that there are those who do not think that fate to be unworthy of a radio station that is the beneficiary of public funding.

Dec. 14 2012 12:45 AM

Thank you HughSansom!

One caller touched on Donor retaliation? What about Donor intimidation? The owner of Papa John’s Pizza (it is an insult to ALL pizza to even consider that pizza btw) who not only donated but held lavish fundraisers for Romney and that horrible David Siegal, timeshare king, are two examples of donor intimidation. These two threatened their employees with firing/layoffs if Obama won. Siegal is known for these hysterical tactics: During the 2004 election, he’d add negative Gore articles to his employee’s paycheck envelopes. How is that right? These are two examples of vocal donors/supporter however they have not suffered any backlash to date. The result however is now educated consumers will either patronize their businesses or not.

This legislation's loophole is a farce: if donors can prove such disclosure will harm, threaten or result in reprisals of any sort are exempt. This legislation is tantamount to political busywork if the exemption remains.

Dec. 13 2012 01:15 PM

" . . . Censorship and speech regulations are common throughout the world, increasingly even in many Western nations. In America, byzantine “speech codes” regulate speech on college campuses; calls for the regulation of broadcast content are common; and complex campaign finance laws control how and when we may speak about elections.

Speech will remain free in America only if we take First Amendment rights seriously. The good news is that business is still booming in the American marketplace of ideas. Debate and discussion on all topics remains vigorous. . . . "

Dec. 13 2012 11:51 AM

Much like their support of draconian prison sentences for "drug" offenses, so-called liberals will come to regret their support of governmental mechanisms for controlling the manner and amount of speech.

Dec. 13 2012 10:59 AM

Thanks for the stats Hugh! Confirms what I suspected.

Dec. 13 2012 10:32 AM

New York State is the most unionized state in the country, and even in NY only 23.7 percent of workers are unionized (according to CUNY's Center for Urban Research).

Dec. 13 2012 10:27 AM

Conservatives can't have it both ways. They can't defend unlimited spending on elections as "free speech" and then say "it's private speech." Elections and campaigning are public, political events. To claim that the kinds of donations Sheldon Adelson made are both speech and _private_ is glaringly contradictory.

As for the claim by others on this comment page that _unions_ are the problem... Give me a break. Unions form a far far smaller percentage of campaign donations. And — big surprise — conservatives want to exempt firefighter and police unions from the standards they whine about applying to other unions. Why? Those unions vote Republican.

An unlevel playing field for taxpayers? NO union threatened to fire employees over votes for Obama. We had major right-wing corporate executives threatening employees over their votes.

Dec. 13 2012 10:23 AM

@MC -

Posting at 7:59AM makes you the poster child for prejudice, doesn't it?

Dec. 13 2012 10:23 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

What about the intimidation of voters who donated to the California propisition by gay activists ... who tracked identities and harrassed supporters at their jobs?

Dec. 13 2012 10:23 AM
Nancy Cadef from Fort Greene

Good for AG Schneiderman! We can see inmany places the influence of ALEC (right wing org funded by Koch et al) devising legislation and supporting state & Local politicians to push these laws through , as in Michigan.

Let's hope this becomes a national model.

Does mr Schniederman have a view on ALEC's influence on national poltics?

Dec. 13 2012 10:21 AM

The attorney general is wrong.

Dec. 13 2012 10:18 AM
Susan Burger from Upper West Side

Martin Chuzzlewit -- you are consistently what my son calls a "buzzkill". I don't see unions as the big problem here in New York City - I see unregulated finance and corporate welfare as a big problem. As a small business owner who is married to a small business owner, the government subsidies to big businesses are outrageous and we pay higher taxes than they do because of it. For instance, there was recently a segment on how much big companies are paid to remain in New York City -- such as Chase Bank. We have a bank on every block in my neighborhood and they have wiped out all the wonderful small businesses in our neighborhood because they can pay higher rent because our government is subsidizing Chase to stay in the City. Meanwhile, during Sandy it was not the big box stores that remained open - it was all the small business owners. Unions don't affect us at all. And the big companies should be covering benefits such as health insurance so that I, as a small business owner, who has to pay insurance at ridiculously high rates because large businesses either don't pay for benefits and then their employees have to use hospital services that cost far more than primary care or because large businesses get kickbacks from the insurance companies because they have more employees than I could possibly afford. The system is rigged by big businesses being given all the breaks. Not unions.

Dec. 13 2012 10:17 AM
julio from nyc

With so many dependent on government, reprisal by government on donors is an issue. You may be punished by the government in power for your political donations.

Dec. 13 2012 10:15 AM

What about tax-exempt religious institutions that get involved in politics? Do they fall under a different category?

Dec. 13 2012 10:12 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE have the courage, for once, to drill him (as you do to conservative guests)about the most insidious and mammoth financial force in state and local politics .... UNIONS, UNIONS, UNIONS.

Whether disguised as the "Working Families Party" or some progressive "think tank".... it is a very unlevel playing field for the taxpayers. Nobody sticks up for us. The unions are well organized, the citizens aren't.

Is Schneiderman just going after the usual suspects on the right with his next election (and money & support from unions/WFP) his biggest concern?

Dec. 13 2012 07:59 AM

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