NY Adopts New Disclosure Rules for Nonprofits

In an effort to create more transparency in the electoral process, New York’s attorney general announced new regulations that require more extensive reporting of political spending by nonprofit groups registered in the state.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman recently adopted new regulations that require nonprofit groups, including 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations, to make more detailed disclosures of their political campaign activities.

Effective immediately, nonprofits registered in New York are now required to report the percentage of their expenditures that go to federal, state, and local electioneering. Groups that spend at least $10,000 to influence state and local elections in New York will be required to file itemized schedules of expenses and contributions and those reports will be publicly available on the attorney general’s website.

Schneiderman pointed to the proliferation of 501(c)(4) groups that formed after the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision as impetus for the change, but the new disclosures apply to 501(c)(6) trade and professional associations as well.

“There is only one reason to funnel political spending through a 501(c)(4), and that is to hide who has bankrolled the effort,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “By shining a light on this dark corner of our political system, New York will serve as a model for other states, and for the federal government, in protecting the integrity of nonprofits and our democracy. By requiring nonprofits to disclose the extent and nature of their electioneering activities, we are protecting prospective donors from misleading solicitations, and giving voters more information about who is behind many of the ads they will see in this year’s elections and elections to come.”

Last month, Schneiderman worked with New York lawmakers to introduce legislation to improve governance and oversight of the state’s tax-exempt community and rein in excessive compensation to top charity executives.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. (photo by New York NOW/Flickr)

Chris Vest, CAE

By Chris Vest, CAE

Chris Vest, CAE is vice president, corporate communications and public relations at ASAE. MORE

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