Bipartisan solution would expose potential conflicts of interest
State Rep. Julie Calley today announced a bipartisan plan to increase the transparency and accountability of elected state officials in Michigan.
Calley, of Portland, said the plan will reveal potential conflicts of interest by requiring candidates for and officeholders of the legislative, executive and judicial branches to fill out a financial disclosure form.
“A lack of transparency creates distrust in government, so I can understand why many people don’t have faith in their elected leaders,” Calley said. “By shining a light on our financial interests, we will create more accountability and give the people of Michigan confidence that we are acting in their best interests.”
Michigan is one of just two states without a law requiring elected officials or candidates to disclose their personal finances.
Under the proposal, elected officials and candidates for state-level offices would be required to divulge 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.
“This plan creates a system of accountability that will expose any potential conflicts of interest,” Calley said. “The public has a right to know if elected officials are acting in their own self-interest.”
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.