Cuomo Hires Horner

Andrew Cuomo has just announced that he has hired longtime good government activist Blair Horner as a special advisor in the Policy and Public Integrity Unit.

Horner, a registered lobbyist with NYPIRG, will oversee “New York State’s first-ever comprehensive Internet database tracking donors, lobbyists, special interests, state contracts, and elected officials, and the links between them.”

Full statement after the jump.

– Azi Paybarah

ATTORNEY GENERAL ANDREW CUOMO APPOINTS BLAIR HORNER AS NEW SPECIAL
ADVISER ON POLICY AND PUBLIC INTEGRITY

Former NYPIRG head to lead “Project Sunlight,” New York’s first
comprehensive Internet database for public information on elected
officials, lobbyists, special interests, contracts and donors

NEW YORK, NY (February 22, 2007) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo
today announced the appointment of Blair Horner as Special Advisor on
Policy and Public Integrity, where he will oversee the development of
“Project Sunlight,” New York State’s first-ever comprehensive
Internet database tracking donors, lobbyists, special interests, state
contracts, and elected officials, and the links between them.

Horner will be leaving the New York Public Interest Research Group
(NYPIRG) after working with them for nearly 25 years.

Attorney General Cuomo said, “I can think of no individual more
qualified to lead “Project Sunlight” than Blair Horner. Blair is a
preeminent authority on government ethics and reform, and brings
singular expertise and invaluable experience. He has been working to
advance issues important to all New Yorkers for over twenty years, and I
am proud that he will be bringing his dedication to the Department of
Law.”

Horner said, “All of us have a stake in the success of the attorney
general’s “Project Sunlight” and his broader effort to bolster
public integrity. And that’s why I want to help. The attorney
general’s success will advance the effort to restore the public’s
confidence in its government. I’m excited to be part of this important
effort. This new mission of the attorney general’s office fits well
into my political values and experience. I pledge to do all that I can
to help the attorney general achieve success.”

While many databases are currently public domain, they are difficult to
navigate. Additionally, the current process of accessing public
information can be burdensome and time consuming. Project Sunlight goes
well beyond the existing systems in making public information
accessible. By combining multiple databases into a single, easy-to-use
Internet resource, New Yorkers will be able to quickly examine elected
officials’ voting records and campaign contributors, and find out
which entities may have benefited from their actions.

During Horner’s tenure, NYPIRG has served as a non-partisan, up-front
witness to New York’s legislative and executive proceedings. He was
named one of the “25 most influential New Yorkers in the last 25
years” by Empire State Reports magazine.

Rebecca J. Weber, NYPIRG’s executive director said, “NYPIRG
applauds Attorney General Cuomo for making a tremendous choice in Blair
Horner as special advisor on government integrity. For two decades Blair
has been an uncompromising force for government openness and
accountability. Blair’s unique understanding of how Albany works makes
him exactly the right person to help the Attorney General usher in a new
era of accountability in New York. NYPIRG stands ready, willing and able
to work with Blair, the attorney general, civic groups and others
working for reform in New York.”

Barbara Bartoletti, legislative director of the League of Women Voters
of New York State said, “Blair Horner has been a constant and tireless
voice for reform of government in New York State for two decades. His
ability to work, to impact the system, to bring about reforms in issues
as diverse as health care, clean indoor air and government reform makes
him uniquely qualified to assist this Attorney General in overseeing
public integrity. He will be greatly missed by the government reform
groups and we look forward to working with him to make government more
open, responsive, and accountable.”

Rachel Leon, executive director of Common Cause/NY said, “Blair
Horner has been the people’s reformer for the last two decades on the
outside of government, seeking sunshine and accountability. We look
forward to continuing to partner with him and Attorney General Cuomo as
they work to propel the reform agenda forward from the inside. It takes
a village to pass real reform, and this is an exciting opportunity that
we hope will result in a more open democracy for the people of New York
State.”

Previously, Horner was the legislative director for NYPIRG, the largest
student-directed consumer, environmental, and government reform and
advocacy group in the State. Horner has served in various leadership
roles at NYPIRG for nearly 25 years, including advocacy, overseeing
campus programs and organization, coordinating campaigns and authoring
comprehensive reports.

Horner received a B.A. with honors from SUNY Stony Brook and is a
veteran of the U.S. Army, where he was awarded the Commendation Medal
for Meritorious Service.