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State Rep. Jaime Greene calls for stronger transparency requirements for legislators during a speech opposing SBs 613-616 in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Rep. Greene waves ‘caution’ flag over loopholes in conflict-of-interest legislation
RELEASE|November 9, 2023
Contact: Jaime Greene

State Rep. Jaime Greene today voted against legislation that fails to offer the transparency Michigan voters demanded through Proposal 1 of 2022.

Michigan residents overwhelmingly supported Proposal 1, understanding the importance of revealing income sources and future job contracts to combat conflicts of interest in the state government. Greene, R-Richmond, gave a speech before the vote highlighting how Senate Bills 613-616 fall short of delivering on that promise.

“Just as NASCAR drivers proudly display their sponsors, legislators should embrace full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest,” Greene said. “Transparency should be our badge of honor.”

Senate Bills 613-616 attempt to implement Proposal 1’s financial disclosure section and would require the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, members of the Legislature, candidates for those offices — and spouses in limited instances — to disclose certain financial information every year.

Greene said the plan she voted against adheres to the weak rule that only gifts, trips, and other benefits from registered lobbyists need to be reported. In the past, this gap has allowed extravagant trips, meals, and other perks to remain undisclosed.

If a public official deliberately provides false information, Senate Bills 613-616 propose a maximum fine of $2,000, which the official would have the option of paying with his or her campaign account. By contrast, the federal government imposes a penalty of $50,000 or up to five years in prison for similar offenses in Congress.

Despite Greene’s opposition, Senate Bills 613-616 were approved by the House during a marathon session day that stretched into early Thursday morning. The bills will soon be presented to the governor for her expected signature.

Greene urged her colleagues in the Legislature not to settle for mediocracy. She will continue to fight to adopt legislation she co-sponsored to strengthen the requirement that legislators abstain from voting when a conflict of interest exists with new, bipartisan ethics committees in the House and Senate to ensure lawmakers follow the enhanced conflict standards.

“We must demand more from ourselves and insist on legislation that goes beyond the superficial,” Greene said. “We need laws that address and expose the root causes of corruption and hold officials accountable. Only then can we build a society where citizens are fully informed and trust in government is restored.”

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