Watchdogs Support S7272/A9086 – Adds a Question to State Financial Disclosure Statements about Crypto Holdings



S7272 (May) / A9086 (Kelles)

Adds a Question to State Financial Disclosure Statements about Crypto Holdings

An act to amend the public officers law, in relation to reporting of cryptocurrency holdings on the annual statement of financial disclosure.

Section 1 adds a new paragraph 16-a to subdivision 3 of section 73-a of the Public Officers Law to require the reporting of type and market value of cryptocurrencies held by the reporting individual in excess of $1,000. The legislation also defines “cryptocurrency” and provides clarifications regarding when the information is disclosed or is not disclosed, including such instances as when trusts are used or corporations owned by the reporting individuals have cryptocurrency investments.

Section 2 sets the effective date as the first of January next succeeding the date upon which the bill shall have become a law.

Our groups support this legislation because it will clarify to state officials what information on cryptocurrency holdings they must disclose on their state financial disclosure statements. We expect the bill to result in much better disclosure of crypto holdings by state officials and reveal to the public their personal interests in cryptocurrency.

We believe this bill is a timely and sensible response to the increased lobbying and political activity of the crypto industry per the April 10, 2022 report by the New York Times. According to the Times, the crypto industry is spending $140,000 a month in New York State lobbying for favorable legislation as part of a national push.  In total, crypto firms are engaging in a $1.5 million lobbying blitz in Albany.

New York’s financial disclosure laws were drafted prior to the growth of the cryptocurrency market. The Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) says existing law requires disclosure of crypto holdings worth over $1,000. However, JCOPE does not provide specific instructions for reporting crypto on the financial disclosure statements themselves. This legislation will explicitly require the disclosure of crypto holdings, and provide additional guidance to public officials about how to disclose holdings.

Click here to view the memo as a PDF.