Skoufis, Zebrowski Bill to Require Disclosure of Campaign Ads Passes Full Legislature

Skoufis, Zebrowski Bill to Require Disclosure of Campaign Ads Passes Full Legislature

A bill (S.4910/A.A4668) sponsored by Senator James Skoufis (D-Hudson Valley) and Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski (D-Rockland County) to require political groups to disclose who is behind political advertisements has passed the full Legislature.

In 2017, the state passed legislation prohibiting anonymous social media ads, however, state campaigns are still legally permitted to send out physical mailers, television spots, radio ads, and robocalls with complete anonymity. This bill will end anonymous mailings and require that all communications have a “paid for by” tag.  Currently, anonymous mailings and advertising allow shadowy political operatives to avoid taking responsibility for the content of communications.

“‘Paid for by’ are three words synonymous with campaign advertising-- except in New York state politics,” said Senator James Skoufis. Most states already have laws requiring political communications disclose the sender's identity, as does the federal government for congressional and presidential races; it’s about time New York State also gets on board. This bill is absolutely vital because voters deserve to know who is behind the campaign material they receive. Whether it’s in the mail, on television, or calls to one’s personal phone, voters should know the group responsible for any political advertisement. I’m proud to have worked on this bill with Assemblyman Zebrowski to close this egregious loophole.”

Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski (D-Rockland) said, “This basic disclosure already applies to our federal elections and it’s time for New York to follow suit. Voters deserve to know where their political material is coming from. We’ve made strides with my legislation to disclose social media ads, and it is imperative that traditional campaign material is subject to the same election law. For too long, candidates and political committees have hid behind negative, faceless ads. This will force folks to take responsibility and stand behind the words they say. I am proud to have passed this in the Assembly the past several years and now with Senator Skoufis, we are getting it across the finish line.”

The bill will be delivered to the Governor’s desk; Skoufis and Zebrowski urged the Governor to quickly sign this bill.