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Watchdog Groups Call on Court of Appeals to Hear Ethics Commission Case

May 13, 2024 - Our groups, united in our belief that the law creating New York’s Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government (COELIG) is constitutional, are concerned that the alarming logic of the recent Appellate Court decision would create an imperial Governor who cannot be held accountable for defying the law – short of impeachment or the ballot box.

Testimony for the 2024 Joint Legislative Budget Hearing

February 6, 2024 - Citizens Union appreciates the opportunity to submit testimony regarding Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposed Executive Budget for State Fiscal Year 2025. We will focus on the proposed funding for the  Public Campaign Finance Board, the Commission on Ethics and Lobbying, and the State Board of  Elections.  

State Ethics Commission Is Constitutional Say Civic and Watchdog Groups in Amicus Brief 

December 18, 2023 - Citizens Union joins six other groups in an amicus brief for consideration to the Third Department, Appellate Division of the NYS Supreme Court in Cuomo v. NYS Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government. In sum, the brief underscores the compelling need for an independent statewide ethics commission in New York; identifies the failures of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE); and supports the constitutionality of the Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government (COELIG) appointment process. 

Memo of Support: S995B/A3484A, LLC Transparency Act

December 15, 2023 - Citizens Union urges he Governor to sign the bill that would requirements for foreign and domestic limited liability companies (LLCs) in New York State to publicly disclose their “beneficial owners."

Citizens Union, Other Good Government Groups Call on City Council to Protect Funding for Oversight Agencies

March 29, 2023 - Citizens Union and other groups sent a letter to Council Speaker Adams and several committee chairs expressing concerns over the preliminary budget proposed by Mayor Eric Adams for Fiscal Year 2024, which includes significant budgetary reductions to key oversight agencies of New York City government. The groups believe that reducing agencies' resources and personnel will severely hinder their ability to ensure accountability, ethics, and good governance across the municipal workforce, and prevent waste and corruption.

Testimony for the 2023 Joint Legislative Budget Hearing

February 15, 2023 - Testimony for the 2023 Joint Legislative Budget Hearing, Local Government and General Government, regarding the the proposed funding for the Public Campaign Finance Board and the Commission on Ethics and Lobbying

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.
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