Citizens Union

Citizens Union is one of the first good government groups in the United States. Founded in 1897 as a political party, the group was reconstituted in 1908 as a nonpartisan member organization with the broad mission of serving "as a watchdog for the public interest and an advocate for the common good."[1][2]

Citizens Union
MottoMaking Democracy Work For All New Yorkers
PurposeGood government
HeadquartersNew York City
  • New York, NY
Region served
New York State
Executive Director
Betsy Gotbaum
SubsidiariesCitizens Union of the City of New York is a 501(c)(4) membership organization Citizens Union Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization

Citizens Union was founded by New York City citizens concerned about the growing influence of the Democratic Party political machine Tammany Hall. One of the founders was Laurence A. Tanzer, who stayed involved with the organization until his death in 1963, aged 88.[3] One of its vice presidents was Dana Converse Backus. The organization helped to elect New York's first reform mayor, Seth Low,[4] in 1901.

Today, Citizens Union continues to act as a government watchdog organization, with campaigns that focus on voting rights and poll workers, campaign finance reform and government accountability. Its current Executive Director is Betsy Gotbaum.

The Board of Directors includes Chair Randy Mastro, Luis Garden Acosta, Vice Chair, Lorna B. Goodman, Vice Chair, Nancy Bowe, Treasurer, Christina R. Davis, Secretary, Tony Perez Cassino, Penelope L. Christophorou, Curtis Cole, Allan H. Dobrin, Ester R. Fuchs, Ph.D., John R. Horan, Robert M. Kaufman, Ian L. Kelley, Eric S. Lee, Gena Lovett, Malcolm MacKay, Anthony S. Mattia, Antonio Magliocco, Jr., Gary P. Naftalis, Tom Osterman, Luis Reyes, Ph.D., Torrance Robinson, Alan Rothstein, Kenneth Seplow, Peter J.W. Sherwin, Gregory Silbert, Jason Stewart, Edward C. Swenson, Cindy VandenBosch.[5]

The Citizens Union Foundation, a nonprofit organization affiliated with Citizens Union, publishes the Gotham Gazette.


  1. ^ CITIZENS' UNION'S PLANS; The Executive Committee Takes Preliminary Ste... - Article Preview - The New York Times
  2. ^ "History," Archived 2007-07-05 at Citizens Union website.
  3. ^ "Laurence A. Tanzer, a Founder Of Citizens Union, Dead at 88," New York Times (July 10, 1963).
  4. ^ CITIZENS' UNION CAMPAIGN BOOKS; They Contain an Arraignment of Tammany... - Article Preview - The New York Times
  5. ^ "Boards of Directors - Citizens Union". Archived from the original on 2017-12-15. Retrieved 2017-12-17.

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