The good-government group Citizens Union on Tuesday announced the filing of a federal lawsuit over the disclosure requirements from the Joint Commission on Public Ethics.
The lawsuit names Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, JCOPE and its executive director Seth Agata as defendants.
At the heart of the case is a bill approved in June aimed at requiring new disclosure for non-profit organizations which good-government organizations blasted at the time as not addressing the broader corruption concerns in Albany and state government.
“This law intends to silence nonprofits that criticize elected officials by affecting their ability to raise funds and should not be allowed to stand,” Citizens Union said in a statement.
Previously, groups deemed to be tax-exempt charitable organizations were not required to disclose how they spend their lobbying dollars. The new disclosure requirement lowers the disclosure threshold for 501(c)4 organizations to $15,000 in annual lobbying spending, while donors who gave $2,5000 or more must be disclosed.
The Cuomo administration in a statement scoffed at the legal challenge.
“Everyone is all for transparency, except when it comes to them,” said Cuomo spokeswoman Dani Lever. “We are just surprised to learn that applies to self-appointed good-government groups, too.”