Spin Cycle

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Albany query: Can political parties be considered lobbyists?

The New York Public Interest Research Group, a nonprofit watchdog, has filed a complaint with the state ethics commission charging that the state Democratic Party has engaged in lobbying on behalf of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's legislative agenda.

The party bankrolled TV ads this year urging viewers to tell legislators to support Cuomo's budget and "women's agenda." NYPIRG's Blair Horner said this constitutes lobbying, so the Democratic Party should report its Cuomo-related spending. He said the lobbying law doesn't exempt political parties. The Cuomo administration has maintained that political parties' activities aren't considered lobbying.

The complaint contends there's evidence that the Republican, Conservative and Working Families parties have also in the past engaged in activities that could be considered lobbying.

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