Today, Rep. Steve Carra announced he plans to introduce a bill early next year to prohibit legislators from signing non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), an effort that will have to wait due to Democrats suspending session outrageously early this year.Recent reporting revealed nearly one in five Michigan lawmakers have signed these “secrecy pacts” that compel a legislator’s silence regarding their knowledge of massive taxpayer-funded projects.
“Elected officials have a duty to be as open and transparent as possible,” said Carra, R-Three Rivers. “Lawmakers should never trade their silence for information about corruption that benefits the politically connected in their communities. Our job is to represent all the voices of our districts.”
Carra was not surprised when he learned the sheer number of elected officials who have signed these secrecy pacts. While creating a business-friendly environment in Michigan is a noble goal, if Michigan had free markets and equal opportunity for everyone, there wouldn’t be a need to sign secret pacts in an attempt to attract benefiting corporations. Carra encourages economic expansion but believes the government picking winners and losers in the dark of night is not the right solution.
“The free market should dictate where companies choose to expand,” Carra said. “NDAs in government exist to keep information from the public. Any information lawmakers have access to should be accessible to all Michigan residents, just like tax cuts should be given equally to all businesses, not just special tax exemptions for the rich and connected. These NDAs are yet another result of the government interjecting itself into places it doesn’t belong.”
Carra’s plan will amend state statute to prevent sitting lawmakers from signing NDAs. This ensures all business dealings involving elected officials remain open and transparent to the districts they represent.
“I came to Lansing to limit burdensome government requirements,” Carra said. “I can’t stand by idly while health system workers in our community are being pulled away from administering care to fulfill demanding state requirements.”