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Legislative Memo

Heather C. Briccetti, Esq.
Vice President, Government Relations
T 518.465.7511 x203
www.bcnys.org

BILL:

S.7478 (Addabbo)

Support

SUBJECT:

Political Contributions By Businesses

 

DATE:

April 27, 2010

 

This legislation would amend the State Finance Law to prohibit any business entity that has been awarded a contract or a renewal of a contract by the state or any department, agency or official thereof, from making any political expenditure.  The sponsor's memo states that the legislation is in response to the United State's Supreme Court decision in Citizen's United v. Federal Election Commission

This holding as a rationale for this legislation is misplaced.  The Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission was to permit independent campaign expenditures by corporations, and did not create a change in New York Law that necessitates placing a new restriction on the ability of business entities to make any political expenditure.  New York is a State that already permits independent campaign expenditures, yet the vast majority of funders of independent expenditure committees are unions, not corporations.

Corporations are affected by political regulation and ought to have the right to try to persuade the electorate that their interests matter, and they should not be required to forego that right in order to do business with the state.  Teachers Unions are far and away the largest influence spender in the State of New York, and despite the fact that their members are 100% dependent on public funding (as opposed to the businesses covered by this legislation), they would be excluded from this prohibition, further skewing the playing field in their favor. 

For the foregoing reasons, the Business Council opposes this legislation and urges that it be held in committee.