172-f. Disclosure of certain activities by non-charitable non-profit entities. 1. Definitions. (a) "Covered Entity" means any corporation or entity that is qualified as an exempt organization or entity by the United States Department of the Treasury under I.R.C. 501(c)(4).
(b) "Covered communication" means a communication, that does not require a report pursuant to article one-A of the legislative law or article fourteen of the election law, by a covered entity conveyed to five hundred or more members of a general public audience in the form of: (i) an audio or video communication via broadcast, cable or satellite; (ii) a written communication via advertisements, pamphlets, circulars, flyers, brochures, letterheads; or (iii) other published statement which: refers to and advocates for or against a clearly identified elected official or the position of any elected official or administrative or legislative body relating to the outcome of any vote or substance of any legislation, potential legislation, pending legislation, rule, regulation, hearing, or decision by any legislative, executive or administrative body.
Covered communication shall not include: (i) communications with a professional journalist or newscaster, including an editorial board or editorial writer of a newspaper, magazine, news agency, press association or wire service, relating to news, as these terms are defined in section seventy-nine-h of the civil rights law, and communications relating to confidential and non-confidential news as described in subdivisions (b) and (c) of section seventy-nine-h of the civil rights law respectively and communications made pursuant to community outreach efforts for broadcast stations required by federal law; or
(ii) a communication that is: (A) directed, sent or distributed by the covered entity only to individuals who affirmatively consent to be members of the covered entity, contribute funds to the covered entity, or, pursuant to the covered entity's articles or bylaws, have the right to vote directly or indirectly for the election of directors or officers, or on changes to bylaws, disposition of all or substantially all of the covered entity's assets or the merger or dissolution of the covered entity; or (B) for the purpose of promoting or staging any candidate debate, town hall or similar forum to which at least two candidates seeking the same office, or two proponents of differing positions on a referendum or question submitted to voters, are invited as participants, and which does not promote or advance one candidate or position over another.
(c) "Expenditures for covered communications" shall mean: (i) any expenditure made, liability incurred, or contribution provided for covered communications; or (ii) any other transfer of funds, assets, services or any other thing of value to any individual, group, association, corporation whether organized for profit or not-for-profit, labor union, political committee, political action committee, or any other entity for the purpose of supporting or engaging in covered communications by the recipient or a third party.
(d) "Donation" shall mean any contribution, including in-kind, gift, loan, advance or deposit of money or anything of value made to a covered entity unless such donation is deposited into an account the funds of which are not used for making expenditures for covered communications.
(e) "Reporting period" shall mean the six month period within a calendar year starting January first and ending June thirtieth or the six month period within a calendar year starting July first and ending December thirty-first.
2. Disclosure of expenditures for covered communications. (a) Any covered entity that makes expenditures for covered communications in an aggregate amount or fair market value exceeding ten thousand dollars in a calendar year shall file a financial disclosure report with the department of law. The financial disclosure report shall include:
(i) the name and address of the covered entity that made the expenditure for covered communications;
(ii) the name or names of any individuals who exert operational or managerial control over the covered entity. The disclosures required by this paragraph shall include the name of at least one natural person;
(iii) a description of the covered communication;
(iv) the dollar amount paid for each covered communication, the name and address of the person or entity receiving the payment, and the date the payment was made; and
(iv) the name and address of any individual, corporation, association, or group that made a donation of one thousand dollars or more to the covered entity and the date of such donation.
(b) The covered entity shall file a financial disclosure report with the department of law within thirty days of the close of a reporting period.
(c) If a covered entity keeps one or more segregated bank accounts containing funds used solely for covered communications and makes all of its expenditures for covered communications from such accounts, then with respect to donations included in subparagraph (iv) of paragraph (a) of this subdivision, the financial report need only include donations deposited into such accounts.
3. The department of law shall make the financial disclosure reports available to the public on the department of law website within thirty days of the close of each reporting period, provided however that the attorney general, or his or her designee, may determine that disclosure of donations shall not be made public if, based upon a review of the relevant facts presented by the covered entity, such disclosure may cause harm, threats, harassment, or reprisals to the source of the donation or to individuals or property affiliated with the source of the donation. The covered entity may appeal the attorney general's determination and such appeal shall be heard by a judicial hearing officer who is independent and not affiliated with or employed by the department of law, pursuant to regulations promulgated by the department of law. The covered entity shall not be required to disclose the sources of donations that are the subject of such appeal pending final judgment on appeal.
Last modified: February 3, 2019