CLARKSTOWN, N.Y. -- A bill by Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski, D-New City, that would require disclosure on all political communication has unanimously passed the Assembly.
The bill, A.4286B, looks to end anonymous negative mailings by requiring a “paid for by” statement on all print, Internet, television or radio advertisements. Most states, including the federal government, have laws that require disclosure of the sender on campaign material; New York is one of the few states that lack campaign ad disclosure laws.
“This legislation will provide voters with the transparency they deserve. If a candidate or political party is mailing negative ads, they should take responsibility and accountability for the content that they mail instead of hiding behind anonymity. This is a common-sense measure that will increase openness within our election process,” said Zebrowski.
The legislation passed in conjunction with the Assembly’s Sunshine Week, which is held each year in March to raise awareness of efforts to increase government transparency and public participation. Zebrowski’s bill is included in the week’s legislative package with several other bills that also ensure accountability and openness in the democratic process.
“There is no place for negative faceless ads in the midst of a campaign; the focus should be solely on the facts. In my district, we’ve seen some very contested, negative campaigns that included a rash of anonymous mailings. It’s time that New York steps up to the plate and joins the rest of the country in requiring this basic disclosure,” Zebrowski said.
The legislation also establishes fines and penalties if senders fail to disclose their identity on the campaign material. Under the bill, sources that do not name themselves can face a civil penalty of $1,000 or up to the cost of the advertisement, whichever costs more.
“My proposal would allow us to weed out the negative and work toward a more productive, open government. I call on the Senate to swiftly pass this legislation so it can head to the Governor where I am hopeful it will be signed into law,” Zebrowski said.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.