Five bi-partisan, high-profile public relations firms, represented by Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel and the Center for Competitive Politics, filed a federal lawsuit to block a new rule adopted by the New York’s State Joint Commission on Public Ethics. Under the new rule, every time the public relations firms speak with an editorial board, reporter or other member of the media about any pending, proposed, or ongoing legislation or other government action, they would be required to register with the state and disclose the subject of their communications and extensive details about their businesses and their clients. The rule is unprecedented and unworkable in its expansiveness and, as the plaintiffs’ brief says, “directly inhibits and chills the rights of public relations firms and their clients to participate in discussions of public matters with and in the press, to serve as anonymous sources to the press, and to exercise their core speech and associational rights free from government inspection or the threat of prosecution or sanction.”
The public relations firms–The November Group, Inc., BerlinRosen Public Affairs Ltd, Anat Gerstein, Inc., Risa Heller Communications LLC, and Mercury Public Affairs–are represented by ECBAWM attorneys Andrew G. Celli, Jr., Ilann M. Maazel, and Hayley Horowitz, and by CCP Attorney Allen Dickerson. The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, and the New York Daily News have all covered the lawsuit.
Today, Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel and the Brennan Center for Justice, on behalf of several former and current State legislators and other plaintiffs, filed suit against the New York State Board of Elections to close the State’s infamous “LLC Loophole.” Since the Loophole was created by the BOE in 1996, contributors donating through LLCs have circumvented contribution limits and disclosure requirements that the Legislature created to protect the integrity of New York’s democratic process — and injected millions of secret dollars into state elections. In April the Brennan Center and Emery Celli asked the BOE to close the Loophole, but the board, in a 2-2 vote, refused to rescind its earlier decision and thereby defeated this attempt at reform. This lawsuit presents a promising opportunity to close the Loophole once and for all. ECBAWM attorneys Andrew G. Celli Jr., Elizabeth Saylor, and Ali Frick represent the bipartisan group of plaintiffs.
The New York Times, The Daily News, The Albany Times Union, The Associated Press, Newsday, and The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, among other outlets, covered the lawsuit. Click here to read the press release about the case. On July 21, 2015, the New York Times editorial board called on the court to adopt ECBAWM and the Brennan Center’s position and close the LLC Loophole.
Andrew Wilson published an article titled “Population predominance in Racial Gerrymandering,” with the American Bar Association’s civil rights section. The article addresses the Supreme Court’s recent treatment of racial gerrymandering and the Court’s statement on the role of equal-population objectives in redistricting analysis. To read the full article, click here: Population Predominance in Racial Gerrymandering.
Jonathan Abady, ECBAWM partner, published an Op Ed with Harry Belafonte and John Bonifaz in the U.S. News & World Report titled “Reclaim Our Democracy: A 28th Amendment is necessary to fulfill the promise of political equality.”
To read the full article, click here.
Former New York City Comptroller and candidate for mayor John Liu, represented by Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel, filed suit in federal court challenging the constitutionality of New York City’s campaign finance system. The suit asserts that the rules governing the public financing system for City elections violate candidates’ First Amendment rights by giving the Campaign Finance Board, a City agency composed of five political appointees, unfettered discretion to arbitrarily determine which candidates receive significant public funding. This scheme allows the Board to censor candidates’ speech on a whim and grants it the authority to give preferential treatment to certain campaigns at the expense of others. The suit also alleges that the Board violated Liu’s Equal Protection rights when it preemptively excluded him from the public financing process based on mere suspicion and unproven allegations, even though in the past it has disbursed public funds to campaigns that have been caught breaking the law. Liu, whose 2013 campaign for mayor was denied all public matching funds just weeks before the Democratic primary election, noted that the Campaign Finance Board “is in dire need of reform.”
To read the complaint, filed in the Southern District of New York click here. To read the press release, click here.