Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon’s Statement on the Assembly Passage of Bill to Close “LLC Loophole” and Ensure Transparent Campaign Contributions

April 17, 2018

Albany – Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon released the following statement today, after the Assembly several passed bills to improve voter turn-out and reform campaign finance laws (A.9608-B, A.7623, A.5382-A), including a bill to close the Limited Liability Company (LLC) Loophole (Simon, A9758A):

“I am pleased that my bill closing the LLC Loophole has passed the Assembly with bipartisan support. New Yorkers deserve transparency and fairness in the electoral process and closing the notorious LLC loophole is an important step forward.

This egregious loophole has allowed unchecked campaign contributions by treating LLCs as individuals instead of corporations, and has allowed them to funnel millions of dollars into state elections with almost no transparency. The LLC loophole allows the wealthy and special interests to anonymously pour unlimited money into campaigns in hopes of influencing preferred candidates.

Closing the LLC loophole would prohibit individuals or small groups of individuals who control large numbers of companies from making virtually unlimited contributions by contributing from each LLC as if they were truly separate contributors. Closing the LLC loophole will blunt the outsized influence of those who control LLCs and enable the voices of average New Yorkers to be heard.

Now that the bill has passed the Assembly, it is time for the State Senate to act swiftly and level the playing field for all New Yorkers and end the practice of ‘pay to play’ politics.”

The bill to close the LLC loophole (A09758A/S7149) is sponsored by Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon in the Assembly and Senator Brian Kavanagh in the Senate. It would ensure that LLCs are subject to the aggregate contribution limit of $5,000 that applies to corporations. It would also require the disclosure of the identity of all direct and indirect owners of the membership interests in the LLC. Similar bills have passed the Assembly every year since 2015. An appellate court recently upheld a lower court ruling and dismissed a lawsuit to close the loophole, writing that it is an issue for the Legislature to address (Times Union).