By Steven R. Schlesinger, Esq.
The New York State Election Law was amended by adding a new section to § 14-116 and incorporating Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) in the definitions in that statute which limits the amount of monies an LLC can expand for political contributions.
Historically, corporations were proscribed from giving political contributions amounting to more than $5000 in the aggregate in any calendar year. Exceeding that limit subjected the corporation and its officers, directors, and stockholders to a criminal misdemeanor charge.
The changes in the law extend that $5000 dollar limitation to LLCs with members and managers being liable for the same misdemeanor criminal charge.
Additionally, the newly added § 14-116(3) of the statute, requires annual filings by an LLC that set forth all political contributions made on or after January 31, 2019. The annual statement specifies what contributions were made by the LLC and who the beneficial owners of the LLC were during that year. This form filing is available on the New York State Board of Elections’ (“NYSBOE”) website and is required to be submitted to the NYSBOE by December 31st of each year. Failure to file this statement is a misdemeanor.
Nothing in the amended law prohibits an owner of an entity from making contributions in excess of the $5,000 aggregate limit in his or her own name, subject to the individual campaign contribution limits for a candidate or a political committee. The individual campaign limits are set forth each year in regulations promulgated the NYSBOE and can range up to $70,000 per candidate for statewide offices with a primary component.