Project Sunlight

One day after Jeanine Pirro told Andrew Cuomo to come out of hiding, there he was on the City Hall steps, unveiling a project to make state government more transparent.

Specifically, he wants to coordinate five databases and make them more assessable. The databases would focus on legislation, lobbying, campaign finance, state contracts, and state corporations.

The project can start on Day One but will take a few months to fully roll out, Cuomo said.

Supporting the proposal was the co-author of the NYU Brennan Center’s devastating critique of the state legislature, Jeremy Creelan, who is now a lawyer in private practice. Cuomo said the Brennan Center’s report on the dysfunction in Albany was true when it came out in 2004 and probably even “more true” today.

When I asked him if there was any contradiction in wanting to make more information available to the public, while limiting the number of debates he’ll attend (two so far), he said no.

“Well Azi, you know, there’s a lot of ways to get information across to people. I like, and what I’ve been doing for two years is, I like to listen to them and listen to their issues. Whenever I get a chance, I find a forum where I get to hear from voters ‘What are your problems?'”

Right after the press conference, he got an earful from two people who happened to be passing by: consultants/lobbyists George Artz and Bob Liff.

In the spirit of openness, Cuomo had the conversations right in front of us.

UPDATE: In the spirit of Project Sunlight, a reader notes that the man who endorsed Cuomo’s plan today worked on Cuomo’s gubernatorial campaign in 2002.

— Azi Paybarah

Project Sunlight