New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

City and State



“I’m actually working actively with colleagues,” Kallos said during a Friday press conference at City Hall to promote various ethics reforms. “We’re drafting legislation around disclosure and limits to what people can do with (c)4s and moving forward, and to the extent that anyone has (c)4s, making sure that they engage in voluntarily disclosure ahead of us engaging in our legislative advocacy and actually making it a legal requirement. Right now is a good time, if anyone has a (c)4, for it to cease and for folks to disclose. … We need to make sure that we lock down every single place that money and corruption can happen.”

Kallos said it would be inaccurate to describe the legislation as his, however. The councilman said he had discussed potential reform measures with others, but he would not name any potential sponsors. Still, he said he hoped legislation related to 501(c)4 nonprofits would come before the Government Operations Committee that he chairs.

City and State NYC Board of Elections Seeks $10M for Handicapped Access by Sarina Trangle

NYC Board of Elections Seeks $10M for Handicapped Access

However, New York City Councilman Ben Kallos, who chairs the Committee on Governmental Operations chair, said the $12 million mentioned in Ryan’s testimony seemed like a lot of money for compliance.

“I'll be working closely with them and with our Law Department to make sure that we are minimizing the cost associated with the federal court order and trying to be as efficient as possible,” Kallos said. “We will be looking very closely to make sure that they are not over-budgeting and then coming back with a surplus because that’s millions of dollars we could be spending on social service programs and education.”

City and State Council Member Will Introduce Bill to Boost Youth Vote by Sarina Trangle

Council Member Will Introduce Bill to Boost Youth Vote

New York City Councilman Ben Kallos plans to introduce legislation today aiming to ensure that city high schools fulfill their legal mandate to distribute voter registration forms to graduating students, in part by instituting a tracking system to be used by the Department of Education.
Kallos, who will be joined by Council Members Linda Rosenthal and Fernando Cabrera, said the Young Adult Voter Registration Act already directs both public and private high schools to have voter registration applications available on campus and to hand them out with diplomas upon graduation, but that it has gone largely unimplemented since its passage in 2004.
Under his legislation, schools would maintain a stash of voter registration forms in several languages and distribute them to students. The Department of Education would then be required to track how many forms make it back to the city's Board of Elections each year, and to submit annual reports to the City Council. 
“The current law just requires that they put voter registrations with diplomas and mail it to the kids. One hundred thousand go out a year, and 100,000 kids do not register to vote,” Kallos said, also noting that in the time since he began helping students register to vote in 2012, he has never called a campus that reported having forms on hand. “We’re just trying to improve it and make sure we’re actually following it,” he said.

City and State News Upgrading Our Laws by Ben Kallos

Upgrading Our Laws

Code runs our world. Whether legal or software lines of code, we live by rules that dictate what can and cannot be done. While software code has grown exponentially more advanced in recent years, our legal code lags behind. Courts struggle to resuscitate laws as living by applying them to facts and technologies that were not possible when those laws were written. The Legislature must stand up to the challenge of upgrading our legal code and systems to keep pace with our software code—to build a government as modern and innovative as the rest of the world we live in.

New York City— the largest in the country—is in a unique position to lead on the most exciting developments in technology and transparency

City and State News NYPD Promises More Transparency on TrafficStat by Kristen Meriwether

NYPD Promises More Transparency on TrafficStat

As part of his continued push to increase transparency in the New York Police Department, Commissioner Bill Bratton announced on Tuesday that the department will open up TrafficStat to more city agencies. The reforms are aimed at meeting Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero goal of zero traffic fatalitie

City and State News Poli-Tech: The digital tools politicos need to gain an edge in 2013 by Aaron Short

Poli-Tech: The digital tools politicos need to gain an edge in 2013


Kallos scrolls through several political sites before pulling up, a free website he launched five years ago—one of the first to combine state voter records with online search functions.

The site contains a simple interface requiring a user’s first and last name, birthday and zip code, before it spits back an individual’s registration status, election districts and the location of the voter’s county board of elections.

Voter sites have evolved significantly since then.



Kallos has been busy building, a site that allows candidates to create a website that meets campaign finance reporting requirements and gives voters a more substantive portrait of politicians’ backgrounds.

Six New York City Council candidates, including Kallos, have signed up with VotersGive, which Kallos hopes will compete with more established sites including NationBuilder and ActBlue.

“Candidates approached me and said ‘We need a website,’” he explained. “I built it for free, and anyone can use it for free and have a website by that day. This is a democracy platform. I even offered it to my opponents.”

City and State News In Efforts to Clean Up Albany, Reform Groups Tack in Opposite Directions by Chris Bragg

In Efforts to Clean Up Albany, Reform Groups Tack in Opposite Directions

New Roosevelt is funded by momentary lieutenant governor candidate and multimillionaire CEO Bill Samuels, who has reported his funding to the independent expenditure effort as more than $259,000 in loans. Over the course of five months, they have already spent $184,000 on a slew of consultants—Red Horse Strategies, Kallos Consulting, Hudson TG, Sunshine, Sachs and Associates, and others—which a spokesman for the group said were laying the groundwork for a field operation to defeat Espada. 

City and State News Rising Stars Forty Under Forty by Chris Bragg

Rising Stars Forty Under Forty


The latest census figures show New York has 4,617,307 residents under 40 years old. Only 40 of them can fit on our annual list of Rising Stars. So what does it take to make the cut?

It helps to have made a difference already. Our list includes people who have run for office and people who are running offices; people who are making policy and people who are shaping the consensus behind it; people who deliver the news and people who make the news; those who raise their voices the loudest and see results.

And it helps to have already made a mark across multiple fields. This year’s Rising Stars may have started as coffee fetchers and junior staffers and campaign aides, but they have risen to become chiefs of staff and foundation directors and key consultants.