Attorney General Andrew Cuomo Appoints Blair Horner As New Special Adviser On Policy And Public Integrity

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.