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Project Sunlight

Project Sunlight, a part of the Public Integrity Reform Act of 2011, increases government transparency and accountability by providing the public with an opportunity to see who is interacting with government decision-makers.

State entities are required to report appearances by individuals or firms before State decision-makers or persons who advise decision-makers.

The Project Sunlight database, hosted by the NYS Office of General Services, compiles the data reported and makes it available to the public for viewing.

Project Sunlight covers appearances between covered individuals that concern one of these subject areas:

  • procurement
  • rate making
  • regulatory matters
  • judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings
  • adoption or repeal of a rule or regulation 

Reportable appearances only include:

  • in-person meetings
  • video chats and conferences

Written communications such as letters, faxes, forms, and emails are not considered appearances. 

Project Sunlight at Tax & Finance

Covered employees
Project Sunlight applies to Tax Department employees who have the power to exercise agency discretion or advise someone who has that discretion. 

These employees must report appearances by all representatives of an entity including:

  • outside representatives, such as a lobbyist
  • inside representatives, like an officer or general counsel
  • individuals appearing on their own behalf

Reportable appearances

An appearance is a substantive interaction that's meant to have an impact on the State's decision-making process. 

Appearances that will be reported

These appearances will not be reported

  • procuring a state contract for real property, goods, or services
  • regulatory matters (related to agency enforcement of regulations and existing law) affecting a broad category of taxpayers or an industry group
  • adoption or repeal of a rule or regulation
  • appearances regarding specific taxpayers (audits, collection actions, Bureau of Conciliation and Mediation Services cases, and the Division of Tax Appeals)
     
  • routine license and registration processing, such as a sales tax Certificate of Authority
     
  • advisory opinion preparation
     
  • phone calls handled by the Department staff, such as the Taxpayer Contact Center or the Taxpayer Guidance Division, requesting an explanation of established Department policy or a Tax Law interpretation
     
  • contacts with Legislators/legislative staff and other government officials
     
  • contacts with the press and media
     
  • appearances related to procurements under $25,000
     
  • appearances related to procurements during the restricted period
Updated: March 26, 2015