Reinvent Albany strongly supports strengthening ethics oversight and advocated for a new, fully independent commission in 2022. As part of our recommendations for improving ethics oversight, we support bills that would improve financial disclosure statements for public officials.
Financial disclosure statements allow the public and ethics oversight agencies to see potential conflicts of interest arising from officials’ outside business dealings or those of their family members. However, financial disclosures are only so useful as they are complete, easy to analyze through open, machine-readable formats, and inclusive of enough public officials.
We support the following bills that would improve transparency of financial disclosure reporting (links below are provided to our memos of support):
- A1560 (McDonald) / S3544 (Breslin) – Requires electronic filing of disclosure statements
- A1609 (McDonald) / S2833 (Breslin) – Requires legislators and candidates for legislature to post financial disclosures statements on campaign websites
- A2507 (Paulin) / S3574 (Skoufis) – Requires disclosure statements from candidates for statewide office or the legislature be posted on the ethics commission’s website
- A2873 (Kelles) / S5621 (May) – Adds a section to financial disclosure statements for crypto holdings (joint memo with Earthjustice and NYPIRG)
- S3507 (Skoufis) – Requires members of REDCs to file disclosure statements
- S1883 (Skoufis) – Requires members of REDCs to file disclosure statements, and subjects them to the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) and Open Meetings Law
- S1571 (Gianaris) – Requires online publishing of NYS judges’ financial disclosure statements
We and other watchdog groups also called for a number of these bills to be passed by both houses as part of Sunshine Week (March 12–18).