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.


CITIZENS UNION FINDS $2.9 BILLION IN SPENDING STILL UNACCOUNTED FOR IN STATE BUDGET

In an addendum to our report released last month, Spending in the Shadows: Discretionary Funding in the NYS Budget, Citizens Union finds that the recently enacted FY 2016 state budget of $142 billion contains $2.9 billion in opaque “lump sum funds,". This represents an increase of $303 million from the $2.6 billion proposed in the executive budget. Read the full release outlining key findings here. 4/17/2015


CIVIC GROUPS DISSAPOINTED IN BOE'S INABILITY TO CLOSE LLC LOOPHOLE

Today is a bad day for democracy in New York. The State Board of Elections' commissioners deadlocked 2-2, leaving in place its ill-advised and outdated 1996 advisory opinion that treats limited liability companies (LLCs) like individuals, rather than corporations. The LLC loophole keeps voters in the dark about contributors who pour millions of dollars into New York campaigns. We will continue to call on the Governor and State Legislature to close the loophole before the end of the legislative session. You can read the full statement here. 4/16/15


CIVIC GROUPS CALL ON NYS BOARD OF ELECTIONS TO CLOSE LLC LOOPHOLE

New York’s leading good government groups sent a letter to Governor Cuomo urging him to get behind their call for the State Board of Elections to close the notorious “LLC Loophole” by immediately reversing its stance on LLCs and campaign contributions. Read the joint statement here. 4/13/2015


ALBANY ETHICS REFORM INADEQUATE

After reviewing the ethics bill finally presented with only hours remaining before the budget deadline, 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. For a comparison of Governor Cuomo's ethics proposals and Citizens Union's positions please see our Scorecard of the Ethics Reform Positions of 2015. Updated 4/3/15


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


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



WATCH: Big Money & Politics: Can Your Voice Count?
Dick Dadey joins as a panelists at BRIC's town hall on
April 8, 2015 to address this critical question.







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CU In the News

Legislative Gazette - Monmouth U Poll: NY most corrupt state, 4/20/15 - Read Full Article

Legislative Gazette - Deadlock on LLC loophole, 4/20/15 - Read Full Article

Legislative Gazette - Watchdog groups says even more discretionary funding made it into final budget, 4/20/15 - Read Full Article

NY State of Politics - Citizens Union: Budget Contains Nearly $3B In ‘Lump Sum’ Funds, 4/17/15 - Read Full Article

NY Times - New York State Elections Board Retains a Corporate Donation Loophole, 4/16/15 - Read Full Article

CBS New York - Dean Skelos, Son Investigated After Allegations Of Corruption: Sources - 4/16/15 - Read Full Article

Times Union - Report: Old 'pork' spending may live a long time, 4/16/15 - Read Full Article

Gotham Gazette - Left Out of Ethics Deal, LLC Loophole Faces Renewed Scrutiny, 4/15/15 - Read Full Article

Legislative Gazette - Good government groups urge Board of Elections to close 'LLC loophole' when it meets Thursday, 4/13/15 - Read Full Article

Times Herald-Record - Opinion: In New York, we have magic pork, 4/11/15 - Read Full Article