PR Firms Sue Ethics Panel Over Rule

ALBANY (AP/Hamodia) -

A group of public relations firms on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against New York’s ethics panel over a new disclosure rule.

The suit seeks to stop the panel from implementing a rule requiring disclosure of efforts to get editorial columns written for causes.

The opinion says that lobbying could refer to a consultant who tries to place an editorial for a client to deliver a lobbying message to a public official. The lawsuit says it limits free speech.

When the rule was announced in January, the New York Press Club objected strenuously, saying the opinion undermines a basic tenet of journalism and endangers the ability to keep private the names of sources.

The commission then removed a reference to media consultants contacting reporters to push a message.