Under fire, title insurance companies spend heavily in Albany State-level lobbying expenses rose 67% between 2014 and 2017
New York State Capitol
As Gov. Andrew Cuomo stepped up his effort to crack down on title insurance companies in 2015, the industry dispatched a small army of lobbyists to Albany.
Amid continued scrutiny of what the state calls excessive marketing expenses, title insurers spent 67 percent more on paid lobbyists during the first half of 2017 than they did three years prior, according to data from New York’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics. According to JCOPE, companies including Fidelity National Title Group, First American Title, and Stewart Title Insurance Company spent $240,992 between January and June 2017, compared to $143,875 during the same period in 2014.
The biggest spender was First American — a California-based insurer that’s a dominant player nationwide — which has forked over $441,750 to lobbyists in New York since 2014, records show.
During the first half of 2017, First American paid veteran political consultant Hank Sheinkopf’s firm $45,000, JCOPE records show. It also paid $33,000 to Empire Advisors, a firm owned by George Haggerty, who was executive deputy superintendent of the state s Department of Financial Services in 2011 and 2012. Empire also lobbied on behalf of First Nationwide Title, a New York City-based title agency, which paid the firm $96,000 between January 2016 and June 2017.
The New York State Land Title Association — a membership organization representing title companies — was another big spender, paying lobbyists $405,000 between January 2014 and June 2017. It retained two Albany-based firms, Ostroff Associates and Corning Place Communications, according to JCOPE.
While NYSLTA’s annual lobbying expenditures have risen only slightly each year, several firms increased their budgets around 2015, as Gov. Cuomo began scrutinizing the i爱上海同城手机版