Citizens Union and Citizens Union Foundation are committed to reforming New York City and State government by fostering accountability, accessibility, transparency, honesty and the highest ethical standards. Always nonpartisan, since 1897, we have devoted ourselves to holding our government accountable and the enfranchisement of all New Yorkers.
Our Most Recent Press Releases
Citizens Union Applauds State Senate for Taking Steps to Reform New York’s Broken Election Administration System
Citizens Union releases the following statement from Executive Director Betsy Gotbaum applauding the State Senate for passing a set of bills that will reform Boards of Elections throughout New York State
Citizens Union, League of Women Voters of NYS urge postponement of all primaries until Aug 23
Citizens Union and the League of Women Voters of NYS sent a letter to Governor Hochul and legislative leaders urging the postponement of all elections scheduled to take place in June to August 23.
The New York State Court of Appeals’ decision to invalidate Congressional and State Senate district lines and hold a new primary for those offices in August leaves in place the June primary elections for Statewide offices, State Assembly, judicial offices, and elections for party positions. The decision on whether to change the June primary was left to the legislature to make.
Citizens Union Issues Statement in Response NYS Court of Appeals Ruling on Redistricting Map
Citizens Union releases the following statement from Executive Director Betsy Gotbaum in response to the NYS Court of Appeals ruling on the state’s redistricting maps
Citizens Union Files Amicus Brief Urging Court to Give Weight to Anti-Gerrymandering Provision in State Constitution
Citizens Union filed an amicus brief in the matter of Harkenrider v. Hochul, the case challenging the newly drawn congressional and legislative district maps in New York, which is now before the New York Court of Appeals. Citizens Union joined the Campaign Legal Center in filing this brief.
Citizens Union Issues Statement in Response to Resignation of Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin
Citizens Union releases the following statement from Executive Director Betsy Gotbaum in response to the news that Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin has resigned
Citizens Union Issues Statement in Response to 2022 State Budget Deal
Citizens Union releases the following statement from Executive Director Betsy Gotbaum on the details of the New York State budget deal:
“Governor Hochul’s first state budget presented a rare opportunity to push for meaningful ethics reform in Albany. Unfortunately, the governor and the legislature failed to create an independent ethics oversight body. The new commission designed to replace JCOPE is fatally flawed, will not have the public’s confidence and will not be able to oversee the state’s most powerful elected officials without fear or favor.”
Governor and Legislature Have Failed to Create an Independent Ethics Oversight Body
After careful review, we believe the Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government created in the state budget is fatally flawed, will not have the public’s confidence and will not be able to oversee the state’s most powerful elected officials without fear or favor.
Citizens Union Slams Proposed Deal to Replace JCOPE with Another Toothless Ethics Commission
Citizens Union releases the following statement from Executive Director Betsy Gotbaum in response to news that the Governor and Legislature have reached a deal to replace JCOPE with a new commission charged with enforcing ethics and lobbying laws
Citizens Union Issues Statement on In Response to Mayor Adams’ Nominations to the NYC Districting Commission
Citizens Union releases the following statement from Executive Director Betsy Gotbaum on Mayor Eric Adams’ nominations to the New York City districting commission
Citizens Union Issues Report Outlining Recommendations For A Fair City Council Redistricting Process
Citizens Union today issued a report outlining measures to ensure a fair City Council redistricting process. Fair and Open City Council Redistricting recommends the city appoint City Council redistricting commissioners who will adopt expansive anti-gerrymandering criteria, ensure transparency, and have not served in an elected office for the past five years.
Watchdogs Urge Gov. Hochul and Legislative Leaders to Create an Independent State Ethics Commission in This Budget
Groups back Governor Hochul’s basic “framework” of law school deans appointing ethics commissioners if there is a transparent selection process and specific measures increasing independence Citing “New York State government’s significant and ongoing problem with conflicts of interest, the abuse of power and corruption,” prominent legal experts and watchdog groups wrote the governor and legislative leaders yesterday and urged them to create a “new, independent ethics commission.”
Civic Conversations, Spring for Reform 2020