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The Limited Liability Company Loophole That Politicians Love


Governor Cuomo raised $22 million in campaign cash from 331 donors. From 2010 to 2014, Cuomo’s top 25 donors gave his campaign committee $5.1 million dollars. New York City real estate developer Leonard Litwin through 21 Limited Liability Companies he controls contributed $1 million dollars to Cuomo.

New York State Election Law limits the amount a person can donate to a statewide candidate to $60,800 over a four year period. Corporations are limited to $5,000 per calendar year. Despite these legal limits there are many ways that people can give more. One of the biggest loopholes in the election law is that there is not a limit for campaign contributions from Limited Liability Companies (LLC). LLC’s are a fairly recent legal creation that are a hybrid between a corporation and a partnership. Forming an LLC is an easy process that involves filling out a one page form and paying a filing fee of $200. Many real estate developers create a separate LLC for each development that they own. 

A recent article by the Albany Times Union highlighted how LLC’s are used for campaign contributions and to hide the identity of such donors.The day before the election Cuomo raked in $160,000, which included $25,000 from Shared Concepts LLC. The Board of Elections requires every campaign donor to provide an address so that interested citizens and the news media can see who or what entity are behind a campaign contribution.

As the Albany Times Union article points out finding out who is behind an LLC can be difficult and time consuming, which defeats the intended purpose of transparency. Cuomo has raised over $6.2 million from LLC’s, which is more than any other New York elected official. Federal regulations prohibit direct campaign contributions from corporations and LLC’s to a political candidate.

 Through money a small number of wealthy individuals and organizations will continue to influence what happens in Albany through the pay to play legalized bribery system we have in place. The LLC loophole in New York could be fixed by legislation but that would require politicians to support the legal limits that exist and the transparency that the law intended.


  • Lillian Llacer

    Just a grammar pet peeve: it’s either $5.1 million or 5.1 million dollars. $5.1 million dollars is wrong and redundant.

    • rhmaccallum

      Not according to the New York State Department of Redundancy Department.

    • UncleBluck

      My pet peeve is grammar Nazi’s that know nothing about the topic at hand so they spout off irrelevancy….

  • Cuomo opposes corruption, unless he'[s the beneficiary.

  • HapKlein

    I grow so weary of the pervasive corruption that haunts our Government at every level.

    Nearly every legislator in Albany is permanent incumbent in office and each capable one at very least, has intimate grasp of government and the particulars of legislation and its implementation in the state. I am sure the criminal, senile and insane members who are not capable are less than half both the Assembly and Senate.

    But still clever lobbyists are the bodies who write the laws and carefully insert special interest features like the LLC loopholes and doubtless dozens of other dodges by which corruption extends its reach on every aspect of New York.

    The growth of the unhealthy role of wealth over the future of New York and for that matter America has thus become a fixture in our Government.

    Sadly knowledgeable Politicians like Andrew Cuomo and our Legislative Leaders are not only aware of these great faults in the foundations of Liberty but take advantage of the process to their advantage.

    In the past thirty years the hopes for a Government by and for the people are silently and resolutely slipping into the folds of wealth. When barely more than 25% of the electorate voice their opinion we can imagine more slippage and less Public Good Representation.