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Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo defended a decision by his state ethics panel that effectively shields a major Cuomo ally from disclosing its donors retroactively.

The state Joint Commission on Public Ethics determined that a requirement will force lobbying groups to reveal the names of donors should not apply to contributions before July 1.

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The law, however, was enacted in 2011 and some critics think the panel could have declared Jan. 1, 2012, as the start date for reporting contributions.

As a result, the Committee to Save New York, a business-backed lobby that has spent at least $12 million promoting the governor’s agenda, won’t have to disclose its donors during Cuomo’s first two, critical legislative sessions.

“We tend to frown on retroactive laws because people operated under one set of laws and one set of expectations,” Cuomo said, noting that New York will be first state to require such disclosure.

Editors' note: JCOPE member Ravi Batra, an appointee of Senate Democratic conference leader John Sampson, opposed the pro-Save New York interpretation. Last week he released the letter embedded below.

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