Feb 22, 2007

Democrats introduce real campaign finance reform

The Michigan House Democrats are taking a real step forward in campaign finance reform with the introduction of a bill that requires elected officials to file personal financial disclosure statements.

Majority Floor Leader Steve Tobocman, D-Detroit, introduced House Bill 4285 yesterday that will require “candidates for state office or judge, state department heads and current office holders to file personal financial disclosure statements that include the names of all family members; his or her employer; the source and amount of earned income and other or her spouse; a list of assets including real and personal property, stocks, bonds; a record of transactions involving the previous items; a list of liabilities over $10,000 of the candidate or a family member; any business ownership; any trustee, director, etc. positions held by the individual in a business, union, non-profit, educational or other institution; any future employment agreement, including leave-of-absence agreements; any honoraria received by the office holder or spouse; and more.”

The House Democrats introduced an eight-bill package last spring that included the financial disclosure that died in committee, but now that the Democrats are in the majority chances are very good this bill will finally become law.

Michigan has the worst record for financial disclosure in the country, according to the Center for Public Integrity. The Center for Public Integrity - a nonprofit, non-partisan organization dedicated to producing original, responsible investigative journalism on issues of public concern – has consistently ranked Michigan among the worst in the nation for its public financial disclosure laws. In addition, many laws in Michigan don’t apply to all state elected officials in the same way, creating different standards for different officials.

The bill was referred to the Committee on Ethics and Elections, chaired by Rep. Marc Corriveau, D-Northville.


Anonymous said...

Thank goodness the Dems are taking on the issues that matter most to Michiganders. I'm sure the unemployed will sleep better at night! Wow, rehashing campaign finance will put Michigan back on the map!!! Yee Ha!!!!

Communications guru said...

The Democrats introduced a plan that will help get the ball rolling to help the state begin moving toward recovery with their budget plan that the Senate Republicans rejected without, as usual, a plan of their own to replace it. What exactly that plan is remains the biggest secret in Lansing in a town where there are few secrets. What do you want the Democrats to do? Sit around and do absolutely nothing like the Republicans who controlled the House and Senate for last 10 years did? Not likely.

Michigan has some of the worst public financial disclosure laws in the nation, and we are changing that because the Republicans would not for obvious reasons. Now, you obviously have no problem with crooked politicians, but I do.

There is only so much a state government can do to help unemployment, especially when the number one employer in the entire state is not doing well. Perhaps if the federal government actually enforced trades laws and tried to eliminate unfair trade practices it would help Michigan’s No. 1 employer, but the Iraq civil war and occupation take precedence.

Hey, who-ever-you-are, when you have some real criticisms and some actual facts to debate with come on back. That would be a welcome change.

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