Policy Reports

Our vision for New York democracy is one where campaigns are clean and free of the undue influence of money, elections are fairly conducted and accessible to voters, elected officials are honest, capable, and well-compensated, and government is transparent, efficient and responsive to a public that knows the issues and feels empowered to change our laws and shape civil society.

Voting and Elections

We believe that more engaged and attentive voters lead to more honest and responsive leaders, so we work to improve all aspects of the voting process. We support efforts where candidates can get on the ballot easier fostering competition and voters have more ways and days to cast their ballot increasing access and boosting turnout.

Money in Politics

We seek to counter the role “big money” plays in our campaigns and who wins elections and the “pay to play” culture in governing in which campaign contributions unduly influence policy and legislative outcomes and the awarding of contracts. From the creation of New York City’s public matching system to our efforts to create more transparency in who is funding campaigns, we work to reduce the corrosive impact of money in politics.

Curbing Corruption

Citizens Union got its start fighting corruption in Tammany Hall and we continue serving as a watchdog for the public interest with investigative reports and policy analysis that move the public and the press to action on key reforms.  We press for stronger ethics oversight and enforcement of public officials with better financial disclosure of outside income, and reporting of lobbying and campaign activity of those who are paid to influence elections and governmental decisions.

Balance of Powers

Decisions in New York state have too often been made by “three men in a room:” the governor and respective leaders of the State Senate and Assembly. We advocate for reforms that ensure no single branch, or official, controls too much power and where the city of New York has greater local control over its own affairs.

Government Spending

There is too little transparency and accountability for how and why New Yorkers’ tax dollars are being spent. Citizens Union works to bring this spending out of the shadows while pressing for a greater legislative role in adopting budgets and oversight in governmental performance.