Skip to comments.(NY State) Pro-choice lobbyist cites danger to donors in winning exemption
Posted on 06/27/2013 4:43:32 PM PDT by markomalley
One of the most outspoken lobbying groups in the state has been given an exemption to donor disclosure rules after saying the information could put its contributors in danger.
NARAL Pro Choice NY is so far the sole recipient of a disclosure exemption under new lobbyist donor rules now in effect.
The group was in the forefront of efforts to pass the full 10-point version of the Women's Equality Act, including a controversial provision updating an abortion rights law.
Members of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics announced the exemption after a closed-door meeting on Tuesday.
"People who give money to our lobbying effort, we won't have to disclose those names," said Tara Sweeney, a NARAL spokeswoman.
The group is concerned about threats or violence against contributors to abortion rights advocates by abortion opponents.
Over the years, in New York and nationally, there have been attacks on abortion clinics and providers. In 1998, a Buffalo doctor who performed abortions, Dr. Barnett Slepian, was murdered at his home by an anti-abortion activist, James C. Kopp.
NARAL is the only organization to request an exemption from disclosure on safety grounds so far, JCOPE spokesman John Milgrim said.
The law says disclosure exemptions can be given if donors might suffer "harm, threats, harassment, or reprisals" if it became known they were contributing to a cause.
The exemption didn't come as a surprise to good government groups, who said they are aware of the past threats and occasional violence carried out against abortion providers.
"We're OK with the exemption, which is fact-based," said Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause, a supporter of campaign finance reforms.
But Dennis Poust, spokesman for the state Catholic Conference, which also opposes abortion, called the decision "ridiculous."
"I'd like to know who's funding NARAL, and I think the public has a right to know," Poust said.
Sweeney of NARAL couldn't immediately say how many donors gave more than $5,000 to NARAL. But she said there are thousands of small donors who may give far smaller amounts in the range of $5 or $10. Those contributors don't need to be listed on the JCOPE disclosure.
She said the matter of shielding donors represents a compromise of sorts. "It's really trying to strike that balance between transparency and keeping people safe," she said.
NARAL is expected to remain politically active in the months ahead as it pushes the state Senate to take up the abortion plank in the WEA a measure it rejected during the regular session.
Barring legislative action, abortion rights groups have promised to push the choice issue in the 2014 elections.
Under a 2011 reform law now in effect, organizations that spend at least $50,000 or 3 percent of their budgets on lobbying are required to list large donors who contributed more than $5,000 to their efforts.
So far, 71 groups have met the threshold. It's largely a familiar list of Capitol power players, including gambling interests, the state Medical Society, the Public Employees Federation union, and associations representing trial lawyers, hospitals, soda bottlers, funeral directors, trucking firms, horse breeders and school administrators.
But Why? Shouldn’t they all be proud of advancing the killing of innocents in the glory of Satan?
Given that their side, not ours, lays claim to the more egregious record of violence, wherefore the concern? This is baseless. The entire structure of their philosophy rests upon a foundation of lies and euphemisms. Consider: "blob of tissue", not "baby"; life begins arbitrarily where it's convenient rather than at the beginning; abortion is murder to some pro-choicers but not to others. Abortion is regarded as a good, as a "right", for women, whereas it casts asunder the deepest and most fundamental of all human relationships, that between mother and child leaving in its grisly wake a burning, festering psychological scar immune to balm whose only remedy is hardening of the conscience.
Since "choice" is inherently dictated by subjective preference, the truth finds no abode amongst them.
Therefore the mendacious implication that pro-lifers are the more violent fits well into their sick and willfully ignorant worldview.