New York Attorney General Proposes New Rules Requiring Nonprofits Funding Political Communications to Disclose Donors

On December 11, 2012, the New York Attorney General’s Office proposed rules that would require nonprofit organizations doing business in New York to disclose their spending on a wide range of activities, including those unrelated to New York elections or candidates. The rules also would require groups that spend more than $10,000 to identify donors giving $100 or more.

Under the proposed rules, nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations registered — or required to be registered — under New York’s charitable registration law must include in their annual financial report the amount and percentage of total expenses spent on all “election related expenditures” during the reporting period. The term “election related expenditures” is defined so broadly that it would require organizations to track and report on spending nationwide, and could sweep up grassroots lobbying and other issue advocacy. In addition, a group making public communications in New York during the six months prior to a state or local election may have to publicly disclose all of its individual donors.

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