June 23, 2021
Legislature passes bill undoing NY’s new donor disclosure requirement
As you know, during the legislative session the NYS Council and nonprofits from across the state mounted an advocacy effort to ensure passage of a bill that would reverse a newly created requirement that charities must submit their annual financial disclosure reports to the Department of State.
The measure, which was sponsored by Assembly Member Amy Paulin and state Sen. Liz Krueger, comes after some nonprofits argued the new requirement was administratively burdensome and redundant as they file the exact same documents to the Attorney General’s Charities Bureau annually.
The NYS Council also expressed concern that donors’ identities could be publicized via Freedom of Information Law requests without clearer confidentiality protections that exist for the Charities Bureau, which the bill also codifies. The Department of State has said it can publish documents and reports submitted to the agency if information that is inconsistent with an organization’s charitable purposes is uncovered, but would not share the names and addresses of individual donors.
NOTE: Last year’s state budget included the provisions that expanded nonprofit oversight under the Department of State, after rolling back more sweeping proposed donor disclosure requirements. Political advocacy nonprofits, filed as 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organizations, must submit financial disclosure reports to the agency if they’ve spent more than $10,000 in communications endorsing or opposing legislation, for example. Charitable groups giving in-kind donations of more than $10,000 to a 501(c)(4) organization must also file financial disclosure reports to the Department of State.
As of last night, the bill has not yet been sent to the Governor’s desk for final action.
Thanks to all for your efforts to get this bill passed in both houses of the NYS Legislature.