Friday, March 23, 2007

More Transparency for Member Items and a Pledge on Project Sunlight

After losing a lawsuit to the Times Union late last year, the Senate and Assembly grudgingly posted on their websites information about the member items that have been doled out within legislators’ districts in the last few years. The Times Union reports this morning that Attorney General Cuomo has closed a deal with legislative leaders to shed more light on member items.

Among the new regulations is the requirement that grant recipients disclose whether they have any close ties to the member delivering the funding. Recipients must also pledge, under penalty of perjury, to use the funds for public purposes.

Tucked in with this was another item of good news about something we have written on since the Senate released its version of the budget. Majority Leader Bruno has apparently pledged to support the $700,000 the Governor asked for to fund Project Sunlight. The Senate, despite being criticized for hiking the budget price tag beyond what the Governor and Speaker Silver had requested, had trimmed this seemingly miniscule amount from its proposed budget.

Now, if only Bruno would get behind the funding for 21 additional workers to oversee campaign finance compliance that the Senate also nixed...

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