Manhattan state Senator Brad Hoylman wants to unmask the shadowy owners behind limited liability companies, requiring them to disclose their names and addresses.
The Democrat announced legislation Monday that would provide more transparency in the world of state politics and real estate, the Associated Press reported.
Under the current campaign finance rules, individuals can use LLCs to sidestep contribution limits and make virtually unlimited donations to politicians. Real estate companies, which already have vast networks of LLCs already set up, are often among the top political donors to exploit the loophole.
Hoylman said that LLCs, which can also obscure the identities behind big real estate deals, can be used for money laundering, tax evasion or political corruption. State lawmakers are set to reconvene in January.
Hoylman was also behind the push for a pied-à-terre tax in 2014, and recently lobbied to have tenants in J-51 buildings informed if their landlords are overcharging them.
The Real Deal teamed up with ProPublica in January to show how the real estate industry used LLCs to pump millions of dollars into Albany in order to protect the valuable 421a tax incentive.
The Treasury Department in August strengthened its rules regarding disclosures for cash real estate deals above $3 million in Manhattan and $1.5 million in the outer boroughs. [AP via WSJ] – Rich Bockmann