Back in 2013, former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged to disclose that all lobbyists’ meetings with members of his administration would be posted on the city’s Website. It was a promise de Blasio had troubles keeping up within his administration. But while there was at least a system in place for there to be some transparency, current Mayor Eric Adams has done away with it–or so it seems.
Politico reports that Mayor Adams has quietly removed the voluntary policy that lets the public know about top administration officials’ meetings with lobbyists. The previous system may have been shaky to begin with, but with this change, there would be no way to account for who is influencing NY policy in government.
Two City Hall attorneys alerted administration employees of the change in a two-page March 1st memo.
“Mayor’s Office employees are not required to maintain or file any reports or documents in connection with their meetings with lobbyists,” the memo from City Hall attorneys stated. With that, the Adams administration has effectively canceled a policy instituted by de Blasio to publish a list online of meetings deputy mayors and agency heads have with lobbyists.
However, the attorneys outlined that employees preserve communications with lobbyists, including “ emails, texts, calendar entries, or voicemails related to lobbyist communications or meetings.”
Adams spokesperson Jonah Allon stated that the Mayor had a commitment to ethics, but did not want to disclose what lobbyists Adams has met within his short time in office.
“Even before he took office, Mayor Adams made clear that everyone in his administration would be held to the highest ethical standards, and that is exactly the kind of administration he has run since day one,” Allon said.
“The administration will continue to follow the law and make city government more transparent and accountable to all New Yorkers,” Allon said.
Allon said that the City Hall counsel’s office regularly trains staff about the “proper rules and regulations governing interactions with lobbyists.” Adams cited De Blasio’s history with disclosure as “reasoning that scrapping it altogether would be better than improving it.”