ALBANY, N.Y.—The New York State Senate today passed legislation sponsored by Senator David J. Valesky that would close a significant loophole in the state’s ethics laws which allows campaign consultants, after they have received compensation from candidates, to lobby these same elected officials on legislation and policy.
“This practice, which is commonplace in Albany, has the potential for trouble,” Senator Valesky said. “To ensure that no undue influence is exerted, it makes sense to ensure there is a firewall between those our campaign consultants on the political side and lobbyists working to influence policy on behalf of their clients on the governmental side.”
While significant reforms to the state’s ethics laws have focused on conflicts of interest and disclosure faced by elected and appointed officials, the same scrutiny has not focused on the relationships and potential conflicts of interests that may be faced by the political consultant who helps to elect or finance the election of a state government official and then is paid to lobby the same state government official.
Senator Valesky’s legislation (S.5009) would enact a “firewall” between political consulting and lobbying, eliminating the blurred functions and roles of consultant/lobbyist combinations that often occur.
Specifically, the legislation:
- Defines “political consultant” as those who are paid to manage and operate political campaigns for public officials and candidates, raise funds to elect such officials, and provide media services or advice for such campaigns.
- Prohibits state-registered lobbyists from providing political consulting services to any state public official, candidate or potential candidate. It also prohibits the converse, banning those who engage in political consulting from becoming a registered lobbyist or being associated with any organization that is a registered lobbyist.
- Requires political committees and campaigns to disclose all people and organizations which provided political consulting services, and the fair market value and/or actual amount paid.
The legislation will be delivered to the Assembly where it is sponsored by Assemblywoman Sandy Galef.