Publicizing the City Council Pork

Friday, April 30, 2010

After a series of scandals involving the misuse of discretionary funds, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn says she's created a new database to help the public follow the money. She says the database will show all discretionary funding given to nonprofit groups, and the names of the council members who made the appropriation.

"These are grants that we are proud of and we believe that having information out there in the public is a good thing for government and for the process," Quinn says. "I also hope it helps gives the public a sense of faith and confidence that their tax dollars are being used effectively by quality organizations."

In addition, Quinn says councilmembers and the groups they give money to must certify in writing that there is no conflict of interest, such as a council staffer or family member working at the nonprofit.

These changes follow a string of cases where city council members and staff have been charged with misusing the discretionary funds.

The city says the searchable database for the current budget year will be available starting next week.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has launched a similar website, Open Government NYC, to make public the funding requests by council members.

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