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.
Common Cause New York
Laura Ladd Bierman
League of Women Voters of New York State
Russ Haven, Esq.
New York Public Interest Research Group
Click here to view the letter as a PDF.