Watchdogs Ask AG James to Press Forward with NYOG Upgrades


October 5, 2021

Letitia James                                                                                              VIA EMAIL
Attorney General, State of New York

Re: Please Press Forward With Data Upgrades to NYOG

Dear Attorney General James,

Our groups write again to underline our support for the Office of Attorney General’s New York Open Government online data system. We view NYOG as an important transparency and accountability tool and appreciate your office’s past and present work to keep it timely and effective. We know your office has many demands placed on it, but we ask that you keep NYOG up to date and specifically ensure that the site automatically updates the most recent campaign finance filings from the State Board of Elections.

NYOG is the most user-friendly portal for those seeking to understand and analyze candidate fund-raising in New York. While the State Board of Elections recently published a new Public Reporting System, the portal has some bugs and requires entering a number of steps to access campaign finance data. NYOG, on the other hand, only requires typing a name and pressing “Return.”

Unfortunately, the campaign finance data on NYOG lags weeks or even months after candidates have filed with the State Board of Elections. As of this writing, if one searches “Cuomo” campaign contributions then sorts by date, the most recent contribution that appears is from January 15th, 2021. The former Governor’s January-July filings became publicly available on July 16th, 2021.

Since the State Board of Elections is now placing campaign finance filings in the state’s open data portal, NYOG should be able to pull from the data automatically using the Socrata API. We know that your office is aware of this, but we want to emphasize the importance of NYOG to watchdog groups and journalists, especially heading into the 2022 campaign season.

Thank you,

John Kaehny
Executive Director
Reinvent Albany

Noel Hidalgo
Executive Director

Betsy Gotbaum
Executive Director
Citizens Union

Susan Lerner
Executive Director
Common Cause New York

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

Russ Haven, Esq.
General Counsel
New York Public Interest Research Group

Click here to view the letter as a PDF.