CITIZENS UNION PUBLISHES CIRCUMVENTING DEMOCRACY: THE FLAWED SYSTEM FOR FILLING VACANCIES FOR ELECTED OFFICE IN NEW YORK

Citizens Union first began reporting on special elections and vacancies in the New York State Legislature in 2007 and has issued periodic updates to the original briefing paper over the last ten years (2011, 2015, 2017 – prospective). The accompanying data serves as interim reporting on legislative offices that were first filled or will be filled imminently, by special election. A full report on special elections and vacancies in the state legislature is currently being planned for release later this year. Read the report now


CITIZENS UNION PUBLISHES 2017 PRIMARY VOTERS DIRECTORY

Prepare for the New York Primary Election 2017 with our candidate questionnaires, evaluations, and preferences. Still, want a print copy? Not a problem, download the Citizens Union 2017 Primary Voters Directory as a pdf file. Browse the directory online and remember to vote on Tuesday, September 12th.


CITIZENS UNION OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK ANNOUNCES CANDIDATE PREFERENCES FOR NEW YORK CITY OFFICES IN SEPTEMBER 2017 PRIMARY ELECTIONS

Citizens Union Chair Randy Mastro and Executive Director Dick Dadey today announced Citizens Union’s preferences in 14 New York City Council races and the Brooklyn DA race for the September 12th primary election. The current District Attorney of Kings County is CU’s preferred candidate. Five Council incumbents were among the 14 Council candidates. Citing their effectiveness in city government and commitment to reform, CU preferred Manhattan Councilmembers Margaret Chin (D-1), Helen Rosenthal (D-6), Mark Levine (D-7), Queens Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley (D-30), Brooklyn Councilmember Carlos Menchaca (D-38). Read the full press release.


CITIZENS UNION CONDEMNS PRESIDENT TRUMP'S REMARKS CONCERNING CHARLOTTESVILLE VIOLENCE

Since its inception 120 years ago, Citizens Union, New York's pre-eminent non-partisan good government group committed to uniting New Yorkers to build a better democracy, has focused on demanding more of our local government and local elected officials. For the first time in its history, Citizens Union must speak out and demand more of the President of the United States. A leader, who, in the wake of the Charlottesville horror, has done irreparable damage to the reputation of our country and the democratic principles for which it stands, defended the indefensible and given encouragement to racists to bring their platform of hate and violence to other cities. Read the full statement.


NY STATE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION: PROCESS AND POSSIBILITIES

Curious about the New York State Constitutional Convention? Heard rumors that the process might endanger your pension? Want to know more what a "Yes" vote would do and how delegates are elected? Learn how you could you run as a delegate? We are hosting an important conversation to answer these questions about the Constitutional Convention and more! Our Director of Public Policy, along with special guests, will unpack these questions one by one to explain the process and possibilities found in this historic November 2017 election. Register for this call, on August 17th.


END CORRUPTION AGAINST NEW YORKERS

The stunning decision to overturn the conviction of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is a stark reminder that we must end the culture of corruption that still dominates our state government and poisons our democracy. New Yorkers were already fed up with the mess in Albany — but seeing one of the state’s most corrupt officials walk free should inspire us all to act now. Read Executive Director, Dick Dadey in the Daily News. 


NEW YORKERS WANT A STATE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION
New Yorkers overwhelmingly support a State Constitutional Convention to consider changes, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Join the campaign to Vote Yes for a Better New York.


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 under-reported stories about the actions of government and government officials. Read Gotham Gazette's latest stories.


JOIN US: A CLOSER LOOK AT THE NEW YORK STATE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION
Join us Wednesday, July 12 to learn more about the campaign that Citizens Union is waging to strengthen our democracy by improving our elections, push corruption out of New York State by enacting stronger ethics provisions, and taking money out of our politics with campaign finance reform. RSVP Now.


CIVIC GROUPS LAUNCH CAMPAIGN SUPPORTING NEW YORK STATE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION
As an overwhelming majority of New Yorkers are fed up with the mess in Albany that has prevented needed change in how our democracy is practiced and how our state government meets the needs of its citizens, a number of civic groups today launched a coordinated campaign to support a constitutional convention to deliver the change New Yorkers demand. Read the full press release.


DADEY HITS BRONX GOP LEADER FOR FOR OPPOSING CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION
"The corruption that has so deeply damaged the Bronx Republican Party is just one example of what we are hoping to fix by urging New Yorkers to hold a state constitutional convention," Dadey wrote. "At a time when the regular state legislative process has failed to achieve ethics reform that just doesn’t punish corruption but seeks to prevent it, a constitutional convention would empower New Yorkers to write a constitution that limits opportunities for corruption and in doing so, create fairer elections and a government system that truly serves the public interest." Read the full article.


JOIN CITIZENS UNION
Your membership and contribution dollars fuel our work to advance political reform that includes every New Yorker. Your added voice strengthens our effort. The more people speaking out for state and local reform, the greater our powers of persuasion – with policymakers, the press, and the public. You are connected, and your support gives you a front row seat to witness and participate in the political process of New York City and State.  Join Now.


VOTE YES FOR A NEW YORK STATE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION
In the November 2017 election, the people of New York State will vote on whether they support convening a State Constitutional Convention. Citizens Union vigorously urges New Yorkers to vote YES. We firmly believe that New Yorkers must stand for a democracy worthy of its promise. A Constitutional Convention provides a once in a generation opportunity to “open” the state constitution and make much-needed reforms to improve the performance of our state government, strengthen the integrity of our political institutions and reform our broken 20th-century voting and electoral systems. Read the full statement.


SPENDING IN THE SHADOWS: TOTAL AMOUNT IS NEARLY $13 BILLION
Citizens Union has examined New York’s FY 2018 Enacted Budget and found that $1 billion in nonspecific lump sum funding “pots” were added to the FY 2018 Executive Budget proposed by the Governor, bringing the total amount of such funding that Citizens Union has identified to nearly $13 billion. Read the report .


SEEDS OF CORRUPTION ARE PLANTED AS BILLIONS IN TAXPAYER DOLLARS ARE SPENT IN MURKY PROCESS
Without transparency as to how this money is spent, the environment for the corrosive impact of money in politics is primed. Read the media advisory


CIVIC GROUPS HAIL NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY PASSAGE OF PACKAGE OF COMPREHENSIVE VOTING REFORMS
The Voter Friendly Ballot Act is a much-needed reform that will remove unnecessary text and political party emblems from already cluttered ballots. We are pleased to see this package of bills pass in the Assembly and hope that the Senate will pass these reforms before the session ends. Read the press release


CITIZENS UNION RELEASES REPORT ON NONSPECIFIC FUNDING IN THE FY18 NYS EXECUTIVE BUDGET
Today, Citizens Union released the latest edition of Spending in the Shadows, our report on unspecified lump sum spending in New York’s FY 2018 Executive budget. The report examines numerous pots of money under state government control that have few spending criteria, few constraints, and little public accountability – all part of a recipe for public corruption.  Specifically, this edition documents $4.3 billion in funds that are subject to spending decisions by individual elected officials, representing an increase of nearly $2 billion from last year’s executive budget. The report also documents billions of dollars in other opaque funds that lack criteria for spending and does not specify any official as having authority.