Columbia Journalism School’s The New York World, in cooperation with some of our favorite advocates at NYPIRG and Common Cause/NY, has created a searchable spreadsheet of the New York State Legislature’s ethics disclosure forms. The reports are based on handwritten disclosure forms submitted to the Joint Committee On Public Ethics (JCOPE) under state law. The forms show the income, assets and debts of each member and his or her spouse. In spreadsheet form they are far easier to search, sort and analyze. The newly opened data has already spurred news reports on how much legislators make and how rich they are — on average, they make 3x New York’s median household income of $57,000, and 27 of 212 are millionaires.
Of course, this all begs the question, in this age of smart phones and apps that can do everything, why in the world aren’t these forms submitted online in the first place?