LANSING, Michigan – The Michigan House Democrats introduced an ethics and campaign finance reform package to close the revolving door between the public and the private sectors and to provide citizens with greater transparency and accountability from elected and appointed officials.
“It is time to put an end to back-door politics and make our government open and accountable to the people we are serving,” said State Representative Dian Slavens. “The Governor called for an ethics reform package in his State of the State Address and my Democratic colleagues and I are happy to put forth a package of bills that fulfill that call. This provides a great opportunity for a bipartisan effort to create much needed changes in Lansing.”
The package contains 16 bills and one constitutional amendment and looks to address corporate accountability, campaign finance and ethics reform. Among other things, the House Democrats’ package of bills would:
- Create a two year “cooling off” period for elected officials and a one year period for department directors who attempt to move directly into lobbying to close the revolving door between public and private work.
- Require personal financial disclosure from appointed and elected officials. Michigan is one of only three states with no financial disclosure requirements.
- Strengthen conflict of interest provisions for legislators, prohibit state elected officials from applyingfor or accepting state grants, and make it illegal for individuals to solicit or accept campaign contributions while in a state facility.
- Toughen campaign finance disclosure and corporate accountability after the U.S. Supreme Courtlifted limits on corporate spending in campaigns and prevent state contractors, companies that accept federal bail-out money, and foreign-controlled corporations from spending money in Michigan elections.
- Increase transparency by forcing corporations making expenditures in campaigns or for lobbying purposes to comply with the law and publically disclose funders.
- Eliminate “Pay to Play” politics by banning the state from awarding any contract over $100,000 to a contractor or vendor who made campaign contributions to elected officials.
- Require “robo-calls” to clearly state the name and address of the organization paying for them.
“Big money corporations and special interests have influenced campaigns and elections for far too long,” said George T. Darany. “Michigan citizens deserve lawmakers who work for them and these bills will help ensure that the voice of the people is heard. I am sure we can all agree that an accountable and transparent government is important if we want to move our state forward and these bills are a step in the right direction.”