New York Adopts New Disclosure Regulations for 501(c)(4)s

New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman has announced new regulations designed to increase disclosure by registered social welfare organizations, the Huffington Post reports.

According to the regulations, registered 501(c)(4) organizations that spend at least $10,000 to influence state and local elections in New York will have to file itemized schedules of expenses and contributions, with those disclosures to be released to the public. Donations of $1,000 or more from a single source for political activity also must be identified, as do expenditures of more than $49. In addition, any group that spends money on communications calling for the election or defeat of a candidate or referendum to disclose its donors, as must any group that names a candidate, referendum or political party in its communications within forty-five days of a primary election and ninety days of a general election.

Since the Supreme Court's Citizen United ruling in 2010, "dark money" spending in which certain nonprofits use contributions from unknown sources for political activities has increased markedly, leading a handful of states to propose new rules aimed at increasing disclosure around campaign contributions.

"When people spend money to try to influence our elections, the public needs to know the source of that money, and how it is being spent," said Schneiderman in a statement. "The regulations going into effect today will ensure that New York nonprofits are not used to subvert that basic principle. Simply put, transparency reduces the likelihood of corruption."