FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – December 12, 2012 (ALBANY, NY): Most Albany-insiders are aware of the financial power of the trial lawyers, but a new report issued today is designed to show the public at large the monetary influence of the group on New York politics. “The trial lawyers are the largest special interest group that most people have never heard of” said Tom Stebbins, Executive Director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance, the group that authored the report. “This report shows the outsized influence the trial lawyers have in Albany.”
The report shows that since 2006, the New York State Trial Lawyers Association and New York Academy of Trial Lawyers spent $6,338,728 lobbying NY elected officials and made $14,658,164 in political contributions via their political action committees, LAWPAC and ATLPAC, or from individual donors who also gave to those committees.
During the most recent legislative session, the New York State Trial Lawyers Association’s PAC contributed to the campaigns of 77% of the members of New York legislature, including contributions to 94% of the Senate and 69% of the Assembly. “As we put together the report, the sheer breadth of the contributions was shocking” said Stebbins. “Republican or democrat, upstate or downstate, Senate or Assembly, the trial lawyers’ money is everywhere.”
Stebbins highlighted spending on legislative committees as the most pervasive, pointing to one committee where the LAWPAC made campaign contributions to 100% of the committee members. “Committees are where much of the work of the New York legislature actually gets done, so it’s no surprise that the most powerful committees are nearly maxed out with trial lawyer money.”
When asked about the effects of this spending, Stebbins’ underscored the cost of lawsuits and litigation on the economy. “Our civil justice system should not be for sale. The trial lawyers spend millions every year pushing for laws which would increase litigation and blocking legal reform. Because of their efforts, we spend more on healthcare, taxes, and insurance than the residents of most other states.”
Stebbins pointed to laws like the Scaffold Law or the rules of joint and several liability as liability-expanding laws that the trial lawyer lobby protects. “People have been calling for reform for years. With this report, New Yorkers can see why these reforms may have trouble passing in Albany.”
The full report is available at http://www.nylawsuitreform.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Trial-Bar-Campaign-Finance-Report-2012.pdf
For more information, please contact Tom Stebbins, Executive Director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, at 518-512-5265 (Office), or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org