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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Senator: Reform talk in Albany is silent on most needed reform

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and legislators are pummeling one another with various ethics reform proposals these days, but you won’t hear about what many feel is the biggest loophole in campaign finance law plied by corporations.

Sen. Daniel Squadron (D-Manhattan) wants to change that by forcing a measure to the floor that would end the notorious “LLC loophole.” That loophole has allowed corporations to exceed standard limits to show millions of dollars in campaign donations to governors and legislators for years.

“There's no reform more important than closing the LLC loophole, which allows unlimited sums of anonymous dollars to pervert the entire process, from elections to legislation,” Squadron said Thursday. “That's why this vote is so important if the governor, the Assembly and the Senate fail to fix this in the budget.”

And, according to Cuomo’s counsel, the LLC loophole isn’t even on the table in the closed-door budget negotiations.

Cuomo counsel Alphonso David said the issue is still proposed by the governor, but it’s not part of Cuomo’s ethics package being hashed out in budget talks. Under the constitution, a governor’s power to force policy into law is greatest during budget negotiations.

Squadron said he will use a procedural rule -- "motion for committee consideration" -- to force the Senate Elections Committee to consider the measure within 45 days.  

The measure to end the LLC loophole is sponsored in the Assembly by Brian Kavanagh (D-Manhattan). Corporations can exceed their corporate limits for campaign donations by donating more under the name of their own limited liability corporations, or LLCs.

Under Albany’s rules, committee action is usually strictly controlled by the majority party. Senate Republicans run the majority and partner with the five-member Independent Democratic Conference. Squadron is part of the minority conference of Democrats.

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