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(New York, NY)— Randy Mastro, Chair of Citizens Union, has issued the following statement on behalf of Citizens Union on recent events in Washington:

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.

President Trump has admitted he asked a foreign government desperate for U.S. military assistance to aid his re-election effort by launching an investigation into allegations damaging to his chief political rival, no matter how debunked or unfounded. It appears on its face to be an abuse of office for personal political benefit, and it has now resulted in an impeachment inquiry. To commence such an inquiry is not — as President Trump claims — a “hoax” or a “coup.” It is what the U.S. Constitution provides for and permits in such an extraordinary circumstance.

But the President has gone even farther, lashing out against the whistleblower who tried to alert government authorities to the looming national security threat here. While the whistleblower’s identity remains unknown, President Trump has demanded that he reveal himself, challenging his veracity, and comparing him to a “spy” committing “treason.” The President’s public stance is particularly regrettable, since the whistleblower’s core allegations have already been confirmed in the very transcript that the President released of his recent conversation with Ukraine’s President.

We have strong whistleblower protection laws here in New York State and New York City to encourage whistleblowers to come forward and to assure them they’ll be protected from retaliation when they do. Citizens Union has long supported such laws for those very reasons. The President’s public pronouncements in this regard undermine those laws, which have served us well at all levels of our government, and erode public confidence in our democratic institutions. And it has to stop.

For follow up, please contact Jake Oliver at Anat Gerstein, Inc. at [email protected] or 347-361-9983

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