Albany, NY — The New York State Attorney General’s office is being asked to hand over the details behind its apparent leak of a national non-profit’s sensitive financial documents, according to Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests submitted recently by the Empire Center.

The FOIL requests seek information behind the leak of an unredacted list of donors to former Ambassador Nikki Haley’s non-profit organization, Stand for America, information deemed private by the federal and state government. The documents appear to have originated from OAG, as they are marked with the official stamp of the attorney general.

The FOIL requests, submitted on September 19, request records showing OAG’s document retention, storage, and destruction policies, as well as any reports of security breaches. The FOILs also requested the names of OAG employees with access to sensitive documents and a list of FOILs received by OAG relevant to the leaked data.

To date, the Empire Center FOIL requests have been met only with standard form letters confirming receipt and giving October 17 as a date to respond. A follow-up letter from the Empire Center’s legal counsel was sent to OAG encouraging a full response, without any further delay, on or before the October 17 date it has promised.

“Any move by the Attorney General to defer or further delay responding to this inquiry would reek of a coverup. On the surface, this looks like Albany politics at its worst. We hope the Attorney General’s response to our FOIL clears things up,” said Tim Hoefer, president and CEO of the Empire Center.

Last year, the Supreme Court ruled in Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta that it was unconstitutional to require charities to disclose their donors, as it violated their First Amendment Rights. “A suitable outcome of this, so far singular, but unsettling event, would be for the Attorney General to direct the immediate destruction of any records in its possession that fall under Bonta, anything short of that would be an affront to taxpayers and a potential infringement on our first amendment rights,” Hoefer concluded.

The full submitted letter can be read here.

The Empire Center, based in Albany, is an independent, not-for-profit, non-partisan think tank dedicated to promoting policies that can make New York a better place to live, work and raise a family. 

You may also like

Personal Care Spending Eight Times Higher in New York Than National Average, New Report Shows

New York’s Medicaid program spends roughly $12 billion per year on in-home “personal care” for the elderly and disabled. Read More

School Districts Must Cover Majority of Bus Electrification Costs

Federal and state assistance would pay for only about 10 percent of the state’s total effort to electrify its entire school bus fleet, according to a new Empire Center research paper. Read More

Empire Center Makes State Exam Results Publicly Accessible  

After petitioning for the release of ELA and math exam data for students in grades 3-8, the Empire Center has published the results. Read More

Empire Center Sues for Withheld Assessment Data Disclosure 

The New York State Education Department missed a Freedom of Information Law deadline to disclose statewide test results. Read More

Number of Educators Paid Six-Figures Jumps Fifty Percent in Ten Years

The number of educators receiving six-figure salaries has increased by fifty percent in the last ten years. Read More

Empire Center Appeals NYSED Attempt to Veil Performance Metrics Until 2023

The legality and appropriateness of the New York State Education Department’s attempt to delay access to important student performance metrics is being challenged in a formal appeal of an Empire Center Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request Read More

$140K Average Pension for New Full-Career FDNY Retirees

Nearly 70 percent  of  of last year’s 470 retirees from the City of New York’s Fire Department (FDNY) were eligible for six-figure pensions Read More

Six-figure NYSLRS pensions quadruple in ten years

The number of New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS) retirees eligible for six-figure pensions quadrupled over the last seven years. Read More

Empire Center Logo Enjoying our work? Sign up for email alerts on our latest news and research.
Together, we can make New York a better place to live and work!