“Unlimited corporate spending has a pernicious effect on our elections and my Democracy Preservation Act will make substantial inroads in fighting the undue influence of big corporations on our democracy,” said Sen. Michael Gianaris, the measure’s sponsor. “Enactment of this bill would ensure that New York’s elections are decided by its people, not by big corporations.”
The measure, modeled after similar bills in Seattle and St. Petersburg, Fla., is taking aim at the proliferation of corporate spending on campaigns in the wake of the Citizens United decision in 2010. The Supreme Court ruling would coincide with the era of so-called “super PAC” spending in campaigns.
The bill approved Monday would apply to companies in which more than 1% is owned by a single foreign national or more than 5% is owned by foreign nationals cumulatively from making political donations in state and local campaigns in New York.
It would also bar such firms from contributing to the funding of independent expenditure committees or political action committees.
“The Citizens United decision wreaked havoc on our democracy – including giving unprecedented ability for foreign-owned corporations to influence our elections,” said Assemblywoman Latrice Walker, the Assembly sponsor of the measure. “We must give New Yorkers the democracy they deserve. I’m pleased to work with Senator Gianaris on this legislation and glad the Senate saw fit to pass it today – I’ll work hard ensuring the Assembly does the same this session.”
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