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Watchdog Groups Oppose Legislative Pay Raise Bill

December 20, 2022 - Legislative leaders introduced a bill late last night giving hefty raises to the next state legislature. The leaders are proposing base salaries of $142,000 starting January 1, 2023, with a limit on outside income of $35,000 beginning in 2025 (about 25% of the increased salary).

Good Government Groups: No Pay Raise Without a Real Ban and Cap on Outside Income

December 15, 2022 - Yesterday, in response to news about a possible pay raise for lawmakers, Citizens Union joined Common Cause/NY, League of Women Voters of NYS, NY Public Interest Research Group, and Reinvent Albany penned a letter to legislative leaders in Albany demanding any raise come with a ban on income earned through certain professions and a cap of up to 15% on certain permissible outside incomes. This request follows the same guidelines Congressional members use.

Watchdog groups request the new Ethics Commission to investigate JCOPE’s approval of Governor Cuomo’s book

November 11, 2022 - Citizens Union, Common Cause/NY, N.Y. Public Interest Research Group, and Reinvent Albany sent a letter to the members of the Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government, requesting they investigate JCOPE’s approval of former Governor Cuomo’s book deal as well as compliance with and enforcement of the terms of that approval. The letter also requested the Commission revise its rules to require Commission approval for outside income requests of agency heads statewide officials.

Watchdog Groups Say New Ethics Commission Should Begin Work this Month

September 8, 2022 - Now that the New York State Independent Review Committee composed of the State’s law school deans has approved seven out of eleven commissioners, we urge New York’s Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government (CELG) to begin its work immediately. There are now enough commissioners appointed for a quorum – the legal minimum required to conduct business.

Citizens Union Issues Statement in Response to 2022 State Budget Deal

April 8, 2022 - 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.

Letters

Citizens Union Charter Revision Commission Letter COIB - 'agents of the city' inquiryEthics One-Pager_2016_Web Group Letter to Leaders Calling for…

Statement from Randy Mastro, Chair of Citizens Union

October 4, 2019 - For the past 125 years, Citizens Union has sounded a clarion call for good government in New York, holding state and local officials accountable for their actions. But of late, we have also had to speak up for the first time in our history about events unfolding in Washington that are so troubling they compel people of conscience to call them out. Sadly, now is once again such a time.

Citizens Union Statement on Sentencing of Syracuse Developer in Buffalo Billions Scandal

December 7, 2018 - "The charges brought against Joseph Gerardi speak to a culture of corruption in Albany and the need for a serious assessment of New York State’s ethics laws. Mr. Gerardi's conviction and sentencing, and that of top state officials in recent years, should serve as a reminder to lawmakers that it is time for Albany to be serious about ethics reform.

CU Reacts to Charges Brought Against Assemblymember Joseph Errigo

October 11, 2018 - "The charges brought yesterday against Assemblyman Joseph Errigo speak to a culture of corruption in Albany, where lobbyists and powerful interests can literally purchase lawmakers and legislation to suit their needs. This corruption is especially prevalent when it comes to decision making around economic development, and it should come as no surprise that nefarious interests looking to take advantage of the system are seeking to muddy the waters of oversight over huge sums of taxpayer dollars,"

Transparency Cannot Wait

July 1, 2018 - State Economic Development Contracts In Buffalo and Syracuse Worth Over $1 Billion Rigged
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