senate Bill S1144

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Relates to the disclosure of monies received by members of the legislature for purposes of legal defense

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 08, 2014 referred to finance
Jan 09, 2013 referred to finance

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S1144 - Bill Details

Current Committee:
Law Section:
Public Officers Law
Laws Affected:
Add §77-b, Pub Off L; amd §§1-c & 80, Leg L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Sessions:
2011-2012: S590A
2009-2010: S6260A

S1144 - Bill Texts

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Provides that contributions made by any person, firm, association or corporation to a member of the state legislature which are intended to be used by such member or on behalf of such member for the payment of legal services and other charges in connection with the legal defense of such member in any past or pending civil or criminal action shall be subject to similar monetary limitations and disclosure requirements set forth in the election law pertaining to campaign contributions.

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BILL NUMBER:S1144 REVISED 1/8/13

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the public officers law and the legislative law,
in relation to the
receipt of monies
by members of the legislature for purposes of legal defense

PURPOSE:
Requires disclosure of monies received by members of the legislature
for the purposes of legal defense.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section one (1) requires legislators to disclose any special defense
fund contributions to the Legislative Ethics Commission (2) defines
contribution and applies to contributions made on or after January 1,
2013 (3) requires that any anonymous contributions received by a
legislator for his/her defense fund turned over to the state
comptroller for deposit into the state treasury.

Section 2 amends the legislative law to include and define legal
defense fund contributions among gifts from family, household or
personal relationship.

Section 3 requires the Legislative Ethics Commission to post such
disclosure information on its website.

Section 4 states that this act shall take effect immediately provided
that that section one of this act shall be deemed to have been in
full force and effect on and after January 1, 2013.

JUSTIFICATION:
There is currently a loophole in state ethics regulations which allows
for those in office to create legal defense funds. This allows
supporters to make donations to help lawmakers with their personal
legal bills. Although the Legislative Ethics Commission can approve
the creation of a special defense fund outside the gift ban, the
contribution amounts and contributors are kept secret from the
public. This bill would help to close this loophole and require full
disclosure. Donation amounts and donor identities will no longer be
anonymous.

Although it is unethical to allow contributions to pay for any bills
for an incident which results from a lawmaker's private conduct,
ridding this practice of its anonymity is the first step in
addressing this situation.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2011/2012: S.590A Referred to Senate Committee on Finance

2009/2010: S.6260A Referred to Senate Committee on Finance

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
None.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
This act shall take effect immediately provided that section one of
this act shall be deemed to have been in full force and effect on and
after January 1, 2013.

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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  1144

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 9, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by Sens. BRESLIN, KRUEGER, SAVINO, VALESKY -- read twice and
  ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee  on
  Finance

AN  ACT  to  amend  the  public officers law and the legislative law, in
  relation to the receipt of monies by members of  the  legislature  for
  purposes of legal defense

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. The public officers law is amended by adding a new  section
77-b to read as follows:
  S 77-B. DISCLOSURE OF SPECIAL DEFENSE FUNDS RECEIVED BY MEMBERS OF THE
LEGISLATURE.  1.  CONTRIBUTIONS MADE BY ANY PERSON, FIRM, ASSOCIATION OR
CORPORATION TO A MEMBER OF THE STATE LEGISLATURE WHICH ARE  INTENDED  TO
BE  USED BY SUCH MEMBER, OR ON BEHALF OF SUCH MEMBER, FOR THE PAYMENT OF
LEGAL SERVICES AND OTHER CHARGES IN CONNECTION WITH THE LEGAL DEFENSE OF
SUCH MEMBER IN ANY PAST OR PENDING CIVIL OR  CRIMINAL  ACTION  SHALL  BE
SUBJECT  TO  THE  MONETARY  LIMITATIONS  SET FORTH IN SUBDIVISION ONE OF
SECTION  14-114  OF  THE  ELECTION  LAW.  SUCH  CONTRIBUTIONS  SHALL  BE
DISCLOSED  ANNUALLY TO THE LEGISLATIVE ETHICS COMMISSION ON SWORN STATE-
MENTS SETTING FORTH THE DOLLAR AMOUNT OF ANY RECEIPT OR CONTRIBUTION  OR
THE FAIR MARKET VALUE OF ANY RECEIPT OR CONTRIBUTION WHICH IS OTHER THAN
OF  MONEY,  THE  NAME AND ADDRESS OF THE CONTRIBUTOR OR PERSON FROM WHOM
RECEIVED. ANY STATEMENT REPORTING A LOAN SHALL HAVE  ATTACHED  TO  IT  A
COPY  OF THE EVIDENCE OF INDEBTEDNESS. THE LEGISLATIVE ETHICS COMMISSION
SHALL PROVIDE FORMS SUITABLE FOR SUCH STATEMENTS.
  2. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, "CONTRIBUTION"  MEANS  ANY  GIFT,
SUBSCRIPTION,  ADVANCE,  OR DEPOSIT OF MONEY OR ANY THING OF VALUE, MADE
IN CONNECTION WITH THE LEGAL DEFENSE OF A MEMBER OF THE  LEGISLATURE  IN
CONNECTION  WITH A CIVIL OR CRIMINAL ACTION AGAINST SUCH MEMBER, INCLUD-
ING BUT NOT LIMITED TO COMPENSATION FOR THE  PERSONAL  SERVICES  OF  ANY

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD01370-01-3

S. 1144                             2

INDIVIDUAL  WHICH  ARE  RENDERED  IN  CONNECTION WITH SUCH LEGAL DEFENSE
WITHOUT CHARGE. A LOAN MADE TO  A  MEMBER  OF  THE  LEGISLATURE  BY  ANY
PERSON,  FIRM,  ASSOCIATION  OR  CORPORATION  OTHER  THAN IN THE REGULAR
COURSE  OF  THE LENDER'S BUSINESS SHALL BE DEEMED A CONTRIBUTION FOR THE
PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION.  THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION SHALL APPLY TO
CONTRIBUTIONS MADE ON AND AFTER JANUARY FIRST, TWO THOUSAND THIRTEEN.
  3. ANY ANONYMOUS CONTRIBUTIONS RECEIVED BY A MEMBER OF THE LEGISLATURE
FOR THE LEGAL DEFENSE OF SUCH MEMBER SHALL NOT BE USED OR EXPENDED,  BUT
THE  SAME SHALL BE PAID OVER TO THE COMPTROLLER OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK
FOR DEPOSIT IN THE GENERAL TREASURY OF THE STATE UNLESS, BEFORE THE DATE
FOR FILING STATEMENTS AND REPORTS AS HEREIN PROVIDED,  THE  IDENTITY  OF
SUCH  ANONYMOUS  CONTRIBUTOR  SHALL BECOME KNOWN, AND, IN SUCH EVENT THE
ANONYMOUS CONTRIBUTION SHALL BE RETURNED TO SUCH CONTRIBUTOR OR RETAINED
AND PROPERLY REPORTED AS A CONTRIBUTION FROM SUCH CONTRIBUTOR.
  S 2. Paragraph (vii) of subdivision (j) of section 1-c of the legisla-
tive law, as amended by section 1 of part D of chapter 399 of  the  laws
of 2011, is amended to read as follows:
  (vii)  gifts  from  a  family member, member of the same household, or
person with a personal relationship with the public official,  including
invitations to attend personal or family social events, when the circum-
stances  establish  that  it  is  the  family,  household,  or  personal
relationship that is the primary motivating factor; in determining moti-
vation, the following factors shall be among those considered:  (A)  the
history and nature of the relationship between the donor and the recipi-
ent,  including whether or not items have previously been exchanged; (B)
whether the item was purchased by the donor; and (C) whether or not  the
donor at the same time gave similar items to other public officials; the
transfer shall not be considered to be motivated by a family, household,
or  personal  relationship  if  the  donor seeks to charge or deduct the
value of such item as a business expense or seeks reimbursement  from  a
client.  CONTRIBUTIONS  MADE  BY ANY INDIVIDUAL OR ENTITY REQUIRED TO BE
LISTED ON A STATEMENT OF REGISTRATION PURSUANT  TO  THIS  ARTICLE  TO  A
MEMBER  OF  THE  STATE LEGISLATURE WHICH ARE INTENDED TO BE USED BY SUCH
MEMBER OR ON BEHALF OF SUCH MEMBER FOR THE PAYMENT OF LEGAL SERVICES AND
OTHER CHARGES IN CONNECTION WITH THE LEGAL DEFENSE OF SUCH MEMBER IN ANY
PAST OR PENDING CIVIL OR CRIMINAL ACTION SHALL BE CONSIDERED GIFTS UNDER
THIS ARTICLE;
  S 3.  Subdivision 13 of section 80 of the legislative law, as  amended
by section 9 of part A of chapter 399 of the laws of 2011, is amended to
read as follows:
  13.  Within  one  hundred  twenty  days  of the effective date of this
subdivision, the commission  shall  create  and  thereafter  maintain  a
publicly  accessible  website  which  shall  set forth the procedure for
filing a complaint with the joint commission on public ethics, and which
shall contain DISCLOSURE FORMS FILED PURSUANT TO SECTION SEVENTY-SEVEN-B
OF THE PUBLIC OFFICERS LAW AND any other records  or  information  which
the commission determines to be appropriate.
  S  4. This act shall take effect immediately provided that section one
of this act shall be deemed to have been in full force and effect on and
after January 1, 2013.

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