Bipartisan solution would expose potential conflicts of interest
State Rep. Lynn Afendoulis today announced she is co-sponsoring a bipartisan plan to increase the transparency and accountability of elected state officials in Michigan.
Afendoulis, of Grand Rapids Township, said the plan will expose potential conflicts of interest by requiring candidates for and officeholders of the legislative, executive and judicial branches to fill out a financial disclosure form.
“Residents will have more faith in their elected officials once they have the proper tools to hold them accountable,” Afendoulis said. “Requiring candidates and officeholders to disclose their financial interests will discourage misconduct by allowing the public to track potential conflicts.”
Michigan is one of just two states without a law requiring elected officials or candidates to disclose their personal finances.
Afendoulis said the eight-bill solution announced today would disclose potential conflicts of interest without unnecessarily divulging the relative wealth or poverty of elected officials and candidates in Michigan.
Under the proposal, elected officials and candidates for state-level offices would be required to disclose sources of income; stocks, investments and real estate assets owned; business associations above certain thresholds; and any relatives registered as lobbyists. The same information would be required for the filer’s spouse and any dependent children.
“Our government cannot effectively serve the people of Michigan unless it is transparent,” Afendoulis said. “It’s time to establish high standards for financial transparency so voters can hold us accountable.”
If enacted, the disclosure rules would apply to candidates and legislators in the state House and Senate, the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, circuit court judges, court of appeals judges, state board of education members and elected state university board members.