January 25, 2023 - Comments from several watchdog groups regarding emergency regulations, Part 941 on Adjudicatory Proceedings, of the NYS Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government
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).
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 Ask Governor Hochul and AG James to Announce their Final Nominees to New Ethics Commission
November 21, 2022 - Watchdog groups ask Governor Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Letitia James to announce their final nominations to New York’s Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government (the “Commission”). Four seats on the new ethics commission still remain unfilled.
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.
Watchdogs Ask New Members of Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government to Reset Expectations about NYS Ethics Oversight
September 26, 2022 - In a letter to the new members of the NYS State Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government, watchdog groups said that the creation of the new Commission provides the opportunity to “reset” public and state officers and employees’ expectations about state ethics oversight.
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.
June 22, 2022 - Our groups welcome the review procedures developed by New York’s law school deans (who by law compose the Independent Review Committee or “IRC”) to review candidates submitted to them by the state’s elected officials.
Watchdogs Ask Statewide Officials and Legislative Leaders to Appoint Independent Members to Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government
June 8, 2022 - We write knowing that the adopting legislation in the budget sets a short time frame for appointing members to the new Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government (“CELG”). We urge you, as you consider the statutory requirements of “background and expertise,” to abide by the following principles
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.
April 9, 2022 - 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.
March 29, 2022 - 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
Watchdogs Urge Gov. Hochul and Legislative Leaders to Create an Independent State Ethics Commission in This Budget
February 9, 2022 - 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.
January 25, 2022 - Testimony for the 2022 Joint Legislative Budget Hearing regarding the Public Protection and General Government Article VII Legislation, and specifically the Independent Ethics Commission Reform Act of 2022
January 5, 2022 - Citizens Union releases the following statement from Executive Director Betsy Gotbaum in response to Governor Kathy Hochul’s State of the State address:
Citizens Union Charter Revision Commission Letter COIB - 'agents of the city' inquiryEthics One-Pager_2016_Web Group Letter to Leaders Calling for…
October 7, 2019 - Good Government Group Supports Ranked Choice Voting, Increasing Oversight of NYPD, Modifications to the City Budget, and Changes to Land Use Review; Opposes Proposed Changes to Ethics Rule.
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.
March 12, 2019 - Ed Mangano betrayed voters by using the office of the County Executive for personal financial gain.
December 11, 2018 - In order to attract the best, brightest, and most independent to public service, elected officials need to be compensated fairly for the work they do.
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.
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,"
September 9, 2018 - “Voter participation in New York’s primary elections is historically low,”
July 1, 2018 - State Economic Development Contracts In Buffalo and Syracuse Worth Over $1 Billion Rigged
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
June 18, 2018 - State Economic Development Contracts In Buffalo and Syracuse Worth Over $1Billion Rigged. Bills that would increase transparency of state business subsidies and fairness of economic development contracts have already passed State Senate 62-0 and 60-2.