Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon and Senator Brian Kavanagh Applaud the Passage of Campaign Finance Reform Bill to Close “LLC Loophole”

January 14, 2019

Albany, NY – Today, the Assembly and Senate passed several bills to improve voter turnout (A00774, A00775,  A00777, A00778, A00779, A00780),  and reform campaign finance laws including a bill to close the Limited Liability Company (LLC) Loophole, sponsored by Senator Kavanagh and Assemblymember Simon (S01101 / A00776).

Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon said, “I am thrilled 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. We should not allow the wealthy and special interests to anonymously pour unlimited amounts of money into campaigns in hopes of influencing preferred candidates. 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. 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. I am thankful to Senator Brian Kavanagh, who cosponsors this bill in the Senate, for his longtime leadership on this issue.”

"Our state has some of the worst election laws in the country, making it unnecessarily difficult to vote and allowing special interests to drown out the voices of millions of New Yorkers by giving unlimited amounts of money to politicians," said State Senator Brian Kavanagh. "Closing the LLC Loophole – the most egregious defect in our campaign finance system – will cut off an enormous flow of unlimited, often virtually anonymous campaign contributions that have allowed certain individuals and narrow business interests to buy influence wholesale. I thank Jo Anne Simon, the Assembly sponsor of the bill, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie for making this bill a top priority today. This is a huge first step in what I hope will be a broader overhaul of our campaign finance system."

Background: The bill to close the LLC loophole (A00776/S01101) is sponsored by Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon in the Assembly and Senator Brian Kavanagh in the Senate. 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. 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, but have not received a vote in the Senate until this year.