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For Immediate Release
Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Kathy C. Hochul
Governor, State of New York  

Carl Heastie 
Speaker, New York State Assembly 

Letitia James 
Attorney General, State of New York

Robert Ortt 
Minority Leader, New York State Senate 

Thomas P. DiNapoli 
Comptroller, State of New York 

William A. Barclay 
Minority Leader, New York State Assembly 

Andrea Stewart-Cousins 
Majority Leader, New York State Senate

 

Re: Principles for appointments to Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government (CELG) 

Dear Statewide Elected Officials and Legislative Leaders: 

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: 

  1. Appoint only independent and well-qualified people to be members of CELG. In making the appointments, evaluate potential members based on their prior experience, expertise, character and independence. Do not appoint persons who because of their current or previous positions or relationships might reasonably appear to lack independence. 

Our groups previously proposed prohibitions barring ethics commission members from serving if they or their spouses, domestic partners and unemancipated children have for the last three years been (with regard to New York):

  1. lobbyists
  2. state vendors or contractors; 
  3. major campaign contributors (those contributing $15,000 or more in the aggregate in any year);
  4. party officials; 
  5. state and local elected officials; and 
  6. state and legislative officers and employees. 

 

  1. Solicit and consider recommendations and applications from a wide array of groups and individuals. 
  2. Consult among yourselves to ensure that the members of CELG represent diverse geographical areas and racial, ethnic and gender groups, as well as professional backgrounds and expertise. 
  3. Commit in advance not to engage in direct or indirect ex parte communications with the appointees or with other members of CELG concerning any matter that is or is likely to be under consideration with the commission. In selecting appointees, obtain a similar commitment from potential appointees. 
  4. Commit to not have communications with the law school deans beyond the formal submission of nominations. 

Thank you for your consideration of these principles. 

Sincerely, 

Betsy Gotbaum 
Executive Director
Citizens Union 

Evan Davis
Manager 
Committee to Reform the State Constitution 

Susan Lerner 
Executive Director 
Common Cause NY 

Laura Ladd Bierman 
Executive Director 
League of Women Voters of New York State 

Edward Murray 
Chair 
New York City Bar Association Committee on Government Ethics and State Affairs 

Blair Horner 
Executive Director 
NYPIRG 

John Kaehny 
Executive Director 
Reinvent Albany 

Erica Vladimer 
Co-Founder
Sexual Harassment Working Group 

Cc: New York State Law School Deans

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