The state’s ethics board is putting off a decision on applications from lobbying groups hoping to shield their donors from public view as it debates tweaks to its regulations.
The Joint Commission on Public Ethics, in a rare public debate Tuesday, decided to table the applications after they discussed whether or not the application material should be made public, even if an exemption is ultimately granted.
State law requires lobbying organizations to disclose the names of those who donate more than $5,000 to their cause. But JCOPE regulations allow for an exemption from disclosure if the group can prove their donors could harmed by having their names known.
So far, one group has received an exemption — NARAL Pro-Choice New York, an organization that prominently lobbies on abortion rights in the state. JCOPE apparently has received additional applications, and its commissioners voted unanimously to put off a decision on those until it sorts out potential amendments to its regulations.
Also in its meeting — which has since shifted to an executive session behind closed doors — JCOPE confirmed the resignation of Pat Bulgaro, a member of the commission that had been appointed by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Bulgaro had been a member of JCOPE since its start in 2011.