48 Colum. J.L. & Soc. Probs. 409 (2014-2015)
An Administrative Alternative to the as-Applied Challenge: New York's Public Integrity Reform Act and the Future of Disclosure Statutes

handle is hein.journals/collsp48 and id is 429 raw text is: An Administrative Alternative to
the As-Applied Challenge: New
York's Public Integrity Reform Act
and the Future of Disclosure
Statutes
L. BROWNING VANMETER, JR.*
In recent years, tax-exempt organizations have become increasingly prom-
inent in political activity of all sorts, including lobbying. In response to
the perceived abuses associated with this trend, there have been a number
of proposals to disclose the identities of such organizations' donors. This
Note focuses on the legislative efforts of one state, New York, to promote
transparency in politics through its Public Integrity Reform Act of 2011, a
statute that is the first in the nation to require 501(c)(4) organizations that
lobby to disclose their donors' identities. First, this Note discusses the de-
velopments that precipitated the statute's enactment, the regime it estab-
lishes, and recent problems with its implementation. Second, the Note
considers the First Amendment implications of the statute's novel re-
quirement. Looking to the judicial treatment of disclosure laws applied to
lobbying and other political activity, the Note concludes that statutes of
this sort would survive facial challenges. It also suggests that as-applied
challenges are unlikely to be a viable protective device for groups harbor-
ing well-founded concerns about the consequences of disclosure for their
donors. Third, given this inadequacy of the as-applied challenge, the Note
argues that future statutory regimes should follow New York's lead (and
learn from its lessons) in fashioning an administrative procedural alter-
native for groups with a legitimate need for exemption. In doing so, the
Note considers the feasibility of implementing such a procedure in other
jurisdictions and disclosure regimes applicable to other political activity.
* Executive Articles Editor, COLUM. J. L. & SOC. PROBS., 2014-15. J.D. Candidate
2015, Columbia Law School. The author would like to express his gratitude to everyone
who made this Note possible, particularly Professor Richard Briffault for his invaluable
guidance and feedback, and the Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems staff for
their efforts in preparing the piece for publication.

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