Hedge Clippers Presents “The LLC Files”

HEDGE CLIPPERS PRESENTS “THE LLC FILES”

HedgeClippers.org now includes a searchable online database of contributions from LLCs to state, local and county candidates and committees in New York since 1999, with collaborative tools to encourage crowd-sourced investigation and analysis of the shady world of New York’s LLCs at http://hedgeclippers.org/llcfiles/

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New York law allows corporations to evade statutory limits on campaign contributions by treating individual LLCs as separate corporations, whether or not they are linked to a single individual, corporation or firm.

The LLC Files show that the “LLC loophole” has been used to give almost $134 million in campaign cash to candidates and committees across New York in over 86,000 separate donations, with the most money going to current New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who received 400% more than any other politician.  

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The loophole has come under attack recently as a source of corrupting cash from billionaire real estate developer Leonard Litwin and his firm Glenwood Management, which gave huge donations to Cuomo and to indicted legislative leaders Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos.  

Current Senate GOP leader John Flanagan – whose Republican majority conference has benefitted from over $5 million in LLC contributions to its campaign committees, according to The LLC Files – has blocked efforts to close the LLC loophole, using disputed parliamentary maneuvers over several committee hearings in recent days.

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LLCs Gave $133.9 Million To New York Politicians Since 1999 In 86,858 Contributions

The LLC Files identify 86,858 campaign contributions totaling $133,911,192 through LLCs to candidates and committees in New York State since 1999. This number will increase as we continue to identify additional LLCs and refine the data.

Andrew Cuomo Is Top Recipient Of LLC Cash:  $15.2 Million

The top recipient of LLC contributions that have been identified so far is Governor Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo’s gubernatorial campaigns have received LLC contributions totaling $13,136,073, and his attorney general campaign received $2,040,160, for an LLC take of $15,176,233.

Cuomo Used LLC Loophole Four Times More Than Any Other Politician

Cuomo’s haul is over four times that of the candidate with the second highest LLC total, former Governor Eliot Spitzer, whose campaigns received $3,565,346 in LLC contributions.

State Senate Republicans Top Committee Recipient Of LLC Loophole Cash: $5.4 Million

The New York State Senate Republican Campaign Committee is the top committee recipient of campaign contributions from LLCs, with $5,460,373 in receipts. The New York State Democratic Committee is the next biggest state committee recipient of campaign contributions from LLCs, with $2,790,879 in receipts.

LLC Contributions Increasing Rapidly: 83% In Eight Years

LLC contributions, in terms of amount and their share of total giving, have increased dramatically in recent years, outpacing spending on elections. Total contributions by LLCs increased 83% from 2006 to 2014, to $21,945,249, and their share of total contributions has nearly doubled over the same period, to 9.2%.

Scandal-Scarred Leonard Litwin & Glenwood LLCs Gave Over $11 Million To New York Politicians — $1.2 Million To Cuomo In 2014

The use of the LLC loophole by billionaire New York City real estate developers is well documented.  The LLC Files identify 1,343 contributions totaling $11,673,206 from LLCs tied to Leonard Litwin, the scandal-scarred principal of Glenwood Management.

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Litwin and Glenwood have been tied to the arrest and indictment of legislative leaders Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos this year, and Glenwood Senior Vice President Charles Dorego is a cooperating witness in continuing investigations by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. 

Hedge Clippers HedgePaper #1 demonstrated how Litwin and Glenwood used the LLC loophole to give $1,214,200 to Cuomo Hochul 2014, Inc. another donation that has come under recent public scrutiny. 

HEDGE FUND & PRIVATE EQUITY MANAGERS USE THE LLC LOOPHOLE TOO

The LLC Files also include initial examination of donations from hedge fund managers and private equity executives using the LLC loophole.

Image via: WSJ.net

• Paolo Pellegrini, formerly of Paulson and Company used PSQR, LLC to give $55,900 to Cuomo in July 2010 ($18,000 of this was refunded). 

Image via: CNBC.com

• Michael Karsch, formerly of Karsch Capital and now launching a new hedge fund, used LMR, LLC to give $53,000 to Cuomo, also in 2010. 

Image via: Zimbio.com

• And Andrew Farkas, a private equity manager and yacht/marina magnate implicated in the wildly-unpopular Yacht Tax break that made national news earlier this year, gave Cuomo $209,509 through his various Island LLCs.

All of these are preliminary figures, and numbers will likely increase significantly as the LLC Files continues to identify and expose donors exploiting New York State’s LLC loophole.

The database is open now at: http://hedgeclippers.org/llcfiles/

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