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For Release — March 13, 2014

Business Council Statement on Campaign Financing

Heather C. Briccetti, Esq., President and CEO of The Business Council of New York State

ALBANY, N.Y. — Paying for public campaign financing through surcharges on enforcement penalties and settlements is one of the worst ideas being floated around Albany under the guise of “political reform.”

The Business Council has long opposed tying any budget item to enforcement revenues, and has successfully worked to eliminate these provisions where they did exist in state law. Enforcement actions should focus on punishing violations and assuring future compliance. Penalties and settlements should never be based on the need to pay for a spending line in the state budget.

Unfortunately, some are suggesting a surcharge on settlements under the state's security fraud law, known as the Martin Act, to generate revenues to support a new public campaign financing fund. The Martin Act is already flawed, with an expansive definition of “fraud” not found elsewhere in federal or state-level security law. Tying a new spending program to Martin Act enforcement efforts compounds our concerns. Any such linking of law enforcement activity and special spending purposes should be rejected.