NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A3647
TITLE OF BILL:
An act to amend the business corporation law, in relation to prohibiting
gifts to public officials
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
To prohibit any domestic or foreign business corporation from offering
or providing a gift to any State public officials.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Section one of the bill adds a new section 0 204 to the business corpo-
ration law to prohibit any business corporation that does business in
this State or receives any form of State public financing from offering
and giving a gift to public officials.
The new section sets forth penalties for violating the prohibition based
on the annual revenue of the corporation. Any director or officer who
knowingly violates this section is guilty of a class A misdemeanor and
subject to a fine of up to six times the value of the gift.
The State Attorney General is empowered to enforce the provisions of
this new section. Section two provides that this act shall take effect
Under current law, no registered lobbyist or the lobbyists client may
offer or give a gift to a public official "unless it is not reasonable
to infer that the gift was intended to influence such public officials."
The law contains a potential loophole since it would appear to allow a
corporation or organization that does not retain a registered lobbyist
to offer or proffer a gift to public officials even if the gift was
intended to influence the official. Moreover, it is very difficult to
prove that a gift was intended to influence a person, especially if
there has been a long-term personal relationship between the two indi-
Public opinion on the ethical behavior of elected officials, especially
in this State, is at record lows. To remove any ambiguities or subjec-
tivity in the law and to ensure the highest ethical standards, this bill
would expressly prohibit any business corporation that does business in,
or receives public financing from, the State from offering or giving any
gifts to public officials.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK
2015-2016 Regular Sessions
January 27, 2015
Introduced by M. of A. BRENNAN -- read once and referred to the Commit-
tee on Governmental Operations
AN ACT to amend the business corporation law, in relation to prohibiting
gifts to public officials
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. The business corporation law is amended by adding a new
2 section 204 to read as follows:
3 § 204. Prohibition of gifts to public officials.
4 (a) For the purposes of this section:
5 (1) the terms "gift" and "public official" shall have the same meaning
6 as those terms are defined in the legislative law, except that the term
7 "gift", in addition to the definition set forth in the legislative law,
8 shall include any privileges, benefits or rights that are offered,
9 provided or made available to a public official but not to the general
11 (2) the term "public financing" shall include, but not be limited to,
12 state or local grants, subsidies, tax exemptions or credits, tax abate-
13 ments, payments in lieu of taxes, and any debt issued by a state or
14 local agency, a public authority or a public benefit corporation.
15 (b)(1) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, no domes-
16 tic corporation, foreign corporation, or any subsidiary of such corpo-
17 ration which (i) is authorized to do or does business in this state and
18 (ii) receives directly or indirectly any form or type of public financ-
19 ing shall offer, give or provide a gift to any public official.
20 (2) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit or prevent
21 a corporation from offering, giving or providing goods or services to a
22 public official on the same terms and conditions as goods or services
23 are offered or provided to the general public.
24 (c)(1) Any corporation that violates any provisions of this section
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.
A. 3647 2
1 (i) generates annual gross revenues of less than one million dollars
2 shall be subject to a fine of up to five thousand dollars;
3 (ii) generates annual gross revenues of between one and five million
4 dollars shall be subject to a fine of up to ten thousand dollars but not
5 less than five thousand dollars;
6 (iii) generates annual gross revenues of more than five million
7 dollars but less than ten million dollars shall be subject to a fine of
8 up to fifty thousand dollars but not less than ten thousand dollars; and
9 (iv) generates annual gross revenues of more than ten million dollars
10 shall be subject to a fine of up to two hundred and fifty thousand
11 dollars but not less than fifty thousand dollars;
12 (2) Any director or officer who knowingly violates the provisions of
13 this section shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor, and shall be
14 subject to a monetary fine of up to six times the value of the gift.
15 (d) The New York state attorney general shall be empowered and author-
16 ized to enforce compliance with this section, including imposing the
17 appropriate penalties on those parties who are found to have violated
18 the provisions of this section.
19 § 2. This act shall take effect immediately.