Dems want to close LLC loophole in Pay-to-Play law

Three Democrats who are departing the Orange County Legislature have suggested tightening the county’s restrictions on campaign donations on a final wish-list of items before they leave office at the end of the year.

In a memo to the Legislature’s attorney on Monday, Jeff Berkman of Middletown asked, on behalf of himself and Matt Turnbull of Hamptonburgh and Chris Eachus of New Windsor, for a draft amendment that would require businesses organized as limited liability companies to comply with the same contribution limit as other companies that do business with the county. The county’s 2013 Pay to Play Law prohibits county contractors from giving more than $4,000 to the county executive in a four-year term, but LLCs have been deemed exempt and allowed to give County Executive Steve Neuhaus more than $4,000 because the law doesn’t specifically use the term “limited liability company” it its list of covered businesses.

Democrats want to add those words to close the loophole, and hope to have lawmakers take up amendment at upcoming committee meetings.

“In our opinion it is clearly in the public interest not to provide LLC’s with a way to avoid compliance required of corporations,” Berkman wrote in his memo to Antoinette Reed, the Legislature’s attorney.

Among other suggestions, Berkman also proposed establishing a nonpartisan commission to review and suggest changes to the county charter, and said that Democrats want the Legislature to hold its December meeting in the rebuilt and expanded Government Center, which has been closed since 2011 and has undergone a $74 million overhaul.

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    Chris McKenna

    Chris McKenna covers Orange County government and politics for the Times Herald-Record. He has been a reporter at the newspaper since 1999. Read Full
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