Citizens Union: Engaging New Yorkers to Reform Government
TODAY IN GOTHAM GAZETTE

Citizens Union Foundation's watchdog publication Gotham Gazette, provides New Yorkers with illuminating analyses on policy, long-form interviews with thought leaders, and underreported stories about the actions of government and government officialsRead Gotham Gazette's latest stories.


ALBANY ETHICS REFORM INADEQUATE

After reviewing the ethics bill finally presented mid-afternoon today, Citizens Union and other good government groups state that the incremental steps are insufficient and more comprehensive plan is needed to adequately address the parade of scandals that have engulfed Albany. Read the joint statement here. 3/31/15


GOOD GOVERNMENT GROUPS QUESTION WHY ETHICS DISCLOSURE BILL NOT YET DISCLOSED

Good government groups state in a joint release today that it is unacceptable that with only 15 hours remaining before the deadline of the state budget’s required passage is reached, an ethics bill about disclosure of legislators' outside income hasn't yet been disclosed to the public. Read the joint statement here. 3/31/15


REPORT FINDS OPAQUE DISCRETIONARY “LUMP SUM FUNDS” PERSIST IN STATE BUDGET

Citizens Union released a report, Spending in the Shadows: Discretionary Funding in the NYS Budget – FY 2014 – 2016 Update, that finds the proposed executive FY 2016 state budget contains $2.6 billion in opaque “lump sum funds” which allow spending decisions to be made in the shadows by our elected officials after budget bills are passed. In order to shed light on the budget process, Citizens Unions advocates for comprehensive, online disclosure of all lump sums, their recipients, detailed purposes, and elected officials sponsoring the items. For more details please read our press release here.
3/19/2015


ETHICS PROPOSAL BY GOVERNOR AND SPEAKER GOOD IMPROVEMENT BUT STILL LEAVES UNFINISHED REFORM ON THE TABLE

In a joint statement, good government groups recognized the Speaker's and Governor's ethics reform proposals as an improvement over the status quo, however state that partial solutions are no longer sufficient to fully address the growing problem of corruption.
Much still remains to be done in bringing about the sea change that is needed to finally transform the practice of ethics in Albany. Read the statement here. 3/18/2015


ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC SCHNEIDERMAN URGES SWEEPING ETHICS REFORM AT CITIZEN UNION FORUM

Speaking to a large crowd of Citizens Union members and other civic-minded New Yorkers at New York Law School, AG Schneiderman laid out a set of proposals on ethics, legislative income and campaign finance. He called for a ban on outside income and a reimbursement system for travel expenses, rules reform to empower the legislature, and comprehensive campaign finance reform. Schneiderman’s full-throated proposals add to the growing clamor for a thorough solution to Albany’s ethics problems. Read the AG's full address here or watch it here. 3/17/2015


CITIZENS UNION URGES REFORM ON ETHICS, OUTSIDE INCOME AND BUDGET

Citizens Union today announced a set of ethics, compensation, and budget reforms that pull back the veil of secrecy that for too long has defined Albany. These reforms include capping and disclosing all outside income, boosting legislative salaries, increasing JCOPE role and budget, expanding disclosure of executive and legislative lump sum funds, and ending the use of the budget for policy changes. Read the press release outlining these reforms in greater detail here. 3/12/15


MALCOLM SMITH CONVICTION FIRST OF THE YEAR, WITH 4 MORE MORE POSSIBLE 

With the conviction of Malcom Smith, and another 4 more possible convictions on the horizon, it is more than apparent that the endless parade of convicted and indicted state legislators needs to stop. As indicated by Citizens Union's corruption tracker, 32 legislators have left office or may be forced from office soon because of corruption or misconduct. Read Citizens Union's statement on Smith's conviction here. 2/5/15


ASSEMBLY SPEAKER SHELDON SILVER MUST GO

Given the serious and credible charges of corruption leveled against Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, Citizens Union believes the Speak no longer has the trust of the public to govern effectively and should either resign or step down. Read our in-depth statement here1/26/15


DISTURBING ARREST OF ASSEMBLY SPEAKER SHELDON SILVER EMPHASIZES NEED FOR ETHICS REFORMS

The arrest of Sheldon Silver was a sad continuation of persistent corruption in Albany. The Speaker of the house was charged with depriving the public of honest services, and failed to disclose outside income, violating ethics reforms he himself championed back in 2011. Citizens Union calls for improvements on ethics reform and a need to address outside income. Read Citizens Union's statement on the arrest here. 1/22/2015



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CU In the News

Capitol Confidential - Almost 10 a.m. on deadline day, bills still not introduced, 3/31/15 - Read Full Article

Wall Street Journal - New Ethics Measures in Albany Get Tepid Response, 3/30/15 - Read Full Article

Legislative Gazette - ‘Spending in the shadows’, 3/30/15 - Read Full Article

NY Times - Cuomo and Lawmakers Appear Near to Ethics Reform Deal, 3/26/15 - Read Full Article

Daily Messenger - Transparency urged over NY police records, 3/16/15 - Read Full Article

Press & Sun-Bulletin - Power in Money: How big bucks fuel policy in New York, 3/22/15 - Read Full Article

Times Union - Mystery items in proposed budget, 3/19/15 - Read Full Article

WRVO Public Media - Ethics reform unresolved in Albany, 3/23/15 - Read Full Article

Glen Falls Post-Star - ‘Lump sum’ funds takes back seat, 3/21/15 - Read Full Article

Poughkeepsie Journal - Report criticizes lump sums in state budget, 3/21/15 - Read Full Article