Lobby group fighting UES waste plant exploits loophole: report

Investigation suggests law firm funneled $690,000 to the nonprofit
August 28, 2014 12:25PM

A small, boutique law firm reportedly gave $690,000 to a nonprofit called Pledge 2 Protect, which is lobbying against a proposed waste-transfer plant on the Upper East Side.

An investigation by Crain’s raises questions about the ability of the one-year-old, three-person firm Marquart & Small to drum up that sort of cash. The newspaper posits that the outfit could be exploiting a loophole in New York’s lobbying laws and serving as a so-called “pass-through” for anonymous donors.

Under such a scheme, the donors can give money anonymously to a law firm. The donations can then be passed on as a gift to a nonprofit.

Marquart & Small declined to comment to Crain’s on the publication’s findings. A lobbying compliance lawyer for Pledge 2 Protect would not confirm the connection, but told the paper, “Not only is it possible, it’s legal.”

According to the investigation, the total amount given to Pledge 2 Protect by Marquart & Stuart consists largely of five gifts ranging from $64,000 to $244,000. [Crain’s]Tom DiChristopher