Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Should Elected Officials Release Personal Finances Online?

Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox voluntarily posted his personal finances online to support legislation that would require financial disclosure from public officials. With a combined salary (him and his wife, Laura) of over $193,000, Cox called for new laws that will require financial disclosures of all state elected officials and local officials who earn more than $65,000 a year. Michigan is currently one of three states not requiring disclosure. With the personal financials of elected officials withheld, it is uncertain as to which lawmakers may have conflicts of interest on specific issues. By publishing elected officials finances, questionable practices could be reduced. However, opposing arguments do subsist. If such requirement was imposed on Michigan, “everyday folks” who seek office may be discouraged to run. Currently, the House has already passed public disclosure legislation. For the past five months, legislation has been with the Senate awaiting action. Only time will tell as to when all elected officials will need to disclose personal finances, as only three states have opt out. As for the Republican, Mike Cox, if his voice is heard, it will put him in the running for governor of Michigan.

Written by: Lisa Matthys

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