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4 NY advocacy groups don't have to ID supporters

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- A new ethics ruling says four New York advocacy groups won't have to publicly disclose their financial backers because revealing the information could put those supporters at risk.

Family Planning Advocates and the New York Women's Equality Coalition had sought an exemption from regulations requiring lobbying groups to disclose their financial supporters. Both groups support abortion rights and had argued that their donors might be threatened if identified.

But the Joint Commission on Public Ethics said no, also rejecting similar requests from New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, which opposes abortion, and the New York Civil Liberties Union.

The four groups appealed, and the commission's decision was reversed by a judicial hearing officer who ruled that the groups presented evidence to warrant exemptions.

The ruling was announced Friday.