Corey Johnson

Democratic Candidate for New York City Comptroller

Corey Johnson is a career politician who moved to New York City in 2000 upon graduating high school. He began at the Community Board level, becoming the youngest person to chair a Community Board. Johnson is finishing his second term on City Council, representing portions of the West Side.  He was elected Speaker of City Council in 2018. Johnson began a campaign for Mayor, but he abandoned it due to struggles with depression, later pivoting to join the race for Comptroller.

Qualifications/ Experience

Government (City and State)

  • Johnson has been a City Councilman for four years and is currently the speaker of the City Council, a position he was elected to by his peers.

Financial/ Business/ Compliance

  • Johnson has no formal finance or legal training.
  • Johnson has a high school degree but no college education. He is currently enrolled in night school as a freshman at Columbia University.
  • As a member of City Council, Johnson has been part of shaping the New York City budget.

Managerial Experience

  • Johnson has managed the staff of his City Council office as well as the staff assigned to the Speaker of the City Council.

Track Record of Transparency and Accountability

  • As Speaker of the City Council, Johnson initiated the Oversight and Investigations division within the Council. It went on to hold hundreds of oversight hearings related to failings of the city government. It is not clear if this was coordinated with the Comptroller’s office, which has the official oversight and auditing duties for the city.

Investment Strategy

  • Johnson says he will explore moving away from hedge funds in favor of investing in index funds to maximize returns and minimize fees.

Audit Strategy

  • Johnson has not stated a particular audit strategy, but says he will focus on auditing agencies with the greatest direct impact on New Yorkers to ensure services are delivered equitably and efficiently.
  • Johnson, in his role as Speaker of City Council, pledged to defund the police.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Johnson has been open about his struggles with substance abuse and mental illness. He announced a run for Mayor in this election cycle, but he suspended that campaign in 2020, sharing that he has been suffering from depression and needed to focus on his mental health. He became a late entrant into the Comptroller race in the spring of 2021, but Johnson is seen as a frontrunner due to strong name recognition across the city as well as substantial campaign funds accumulated during his run for Mayor.
  • Johnson supports the Defund the Police Movement and has called upon the police to stop enforcing “low level” crimes. (As Comptroller, he would be responsible for overseeing any settlements between the city and claimants and would have audit powers over the NYPD.)
June 26, 2020

De Blasio Says There Will Be Cuts to the NYPD, But He Won't Commit to $1B

January 12, 2021

NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson is a college freshman at 38

March 09, 2021

Corey Johnson Launches Bid for New York City Comptroller

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