News Releases and Statements
Citizens Union feels compelled to call out the injustice, ineffectiveness and ineptitude that pervade our country's current immigration policy, and to demand that our federal government do better by all of us, whether we were born here or not. As New Yorkers, we stand in the shadow of Ellis Island and the Statute of Liberty, reminding us every day of our immigrant roots. That is why we declare, today, that our country has to do better and be better than this. Read More.
As Massive Bid Rigging Trial Gets Underway Watchdogs Call On Assembly Speaker Heastie to Stop Stalling and Allow Vote on Database of Deals and Comptroller’s Procurement Integrity Act
Outside the Manhattan Courthouse where top aides and campaign contributors to Governor Cuomo are on trial for allegedly rigging over $1B in state economic development contracts, watchdog groups once again called on State Assembly Speaker to stop stalling and to allow a vote on key transparency and oversight legislation that has already passed the state senate 62-0 and 60-2. The legislation is co-sponsored by dozens of assembly democrats and is supported by twenty watchdog and civic groups. Read More.
Watchdog Groups Applaud Senate for Passing Bills to Increase the Transparency and Accountability of State Economic Development Programs
Good government and fiscal watchdog groups commend the Senate for passing a package of bills intended to improve the transparency and accountability of the state’s multitude of economic development programs. The groups call on the Assembly to join the Senate in passing the Database of Deals A.8175-A (Schimminger) & S.6613-B (Croci) and Comptroller DiNapoli’s Procurement Integrity Act S.3984-A (DeFrancisco) & A.6355-A (Peoples-Stokes). Read More
Citizens Union Applauds Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 181 Restoring Voting Rights to People on Parole
With this Executive Order, New York joins the 16 other states and District of Columbia that automatically allow people to vote upon release from incarceration. Finally, New Yorkers on parole will no longer be silenced at the polls, a practice that has had a far greater impact on black and Latino communities throughout the state. Automatic restoration not only expands and diversifies the pool of eligible voters, but also is a significant step away from the historic dispossession of New Yorkers of color. Read More
Appoint the Next Attorney General Outside of the Political Clubhouse
Whoever is appointed should come from the top ranks of the legal community, not the political clubhouse. Read More
The board of Citizens Union elects two new board members, Christopher Giglio and Cliff Chenfeld
Executive Director, Betsy Gotbaum, said, “Both Christopher and Cliff bring a wealth of possibility and promise to the work of accountable government and civic education. I am honored to work with them, and the full board of Citizens Union.” Read More
Citizens Union Faults State for Proposed $11.7 Billion in Unaccounted Spending
Citizens Union released Spending in the Shadows. This report examines State funds in the FY 2019 Executive Budget that have neither a specific purpose nor oversight, inviting misuse and corruption and raises serious concerns about the integrity of State spending. Read More
Citizens Union Critiques Mayor de Blasio’s Influence on the Charter Revision Commission Process
Citizens Union believes pressure from the Mayor’s office for the Commission to pursue specific reforms on the New York City Charter, directly conflicts with the responsibilities of a Charter Revision Commission. Read More
Citizens Union Welcomes New Executive Director, Betsy Gotbaum
“I’m very proud to have been asked to serve Citizens Union and I’m looking forward to what’s coming for the organization,” Ms. Gotbaum stated. “New Yorkers need basic reforms to bring the promises of democracy into a cogent reality serving all in our great City and State.” Read More
Good Government Groups and Legislators Call to Fund Early Voting
"Providing funding would prove to New Yorkers, who have waited long enough for simple voting reforms, the Governor is serious about implementing early voting in New York State,” said Ethan Geringer-Sameth, Public Policy and Program Manager for Citizens Union. Read More
Year of "Albany on Trial" Starts With Former Top Aide To Governor Cuomo and Big Political Donors Facing Bribery and Extortion Charges
This is the first of six trials that will play out during this year’s legislative session. In response to the corruption risks revealed by the trials, government watchdog groups have called on the Governor and Legislature to finally act on major reforms that would increase the transparency and oversight of state contracting, business subsidies and reduce the risk of corruption by restricting campaign contributions from people doing business with the state and strengthening government oversight agencies.
The groups have also called for closing the “LLC Loophole” which allows for essentially unlimited contributions through Limited Liability Companies and full transparency for discretionary “lump sum” spending, which the groups say are much bigger, more secretive and a greater corruption risk than member items. Read More