March 12, 2013 Bookmark and Share

House Dems Introduce Plan Demanding Ethics, Accountability and Transparency in Michigan

Bills demand open, honest and accountable government

State Rep. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) talks about the need for ethics reform in government during a press conference held at the state Capitol on Tuesday, March 12, 2013. Also participating in the event, pictured from left to right, are Reps. Tom Cochran (D-Mason), Pam Faris (D-Clio), John Kivela (D-Marquette), Dian Slavens (D-Canton), Bill LaVoy (D-Monroe), Democratic Floor Leader Rudy Hobbs (D-Southfield), Terry Brown (D-Pigeon), Jon Switalski (D-Warren), House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills), Gretchen Driskell (D-Saline), Marcia Hovey-Wright (D-Muskegon), Sarah Roberts (D-St. Clair Shores), Scott Dianda (D-Calumet) and Theresa Abed (D-Grand Ledge).

LANSING - House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills), House Democratic Floor Leader Rudy Hobbs (D-Southfield) and state Representative Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) announced today a Democratic-sponsored package of ethics, accountability and transparency bills at a Capitol press conference. The bills call for an open, honest and accountable legislature.

"Anyone watching Republican-dominated Lansing would know it is out of control with candidates trying to rig elections and special interest groups actually writing legislation, so our bills will put the brakes on this runaway, anything-goes political train and bring ethics, accountability and transparency back to state government," said Greimel. "Our bills will hold candidates, elected officials and special interest groups to a standard of ethics that puts the residents we serve first."

"I ran for my House seat because people are tired of the game-playing that we’ve seen from candidates and elected officials," said Brinks. "Michiganders deserve honesty and transparency from the people they vote into office. Our bills will ensure that the people are first, and not elected officials and special interests."

The House Democratic package of bills, if enacted, would create a culture of accountability and transparency in campaigns and in the legislature. Included in the package are bills that will:

  • Require a corporation that makes independent expenditures to file a notice with the Secretary of State and get permission from shareholders.

  • Ban elected officials from lobbying for two years after leaving office.

  • Require committees to file quarterly campaign finance filings in both on and off years to shed more light on campaign contributions.

  • Create an ethics act for the administration and its employees to strengthen conflict-of-interest concerns for those individuals.

  • Require financial disclosure from certain elected officials.

  • Create a lobbying expenditure database.

  • Require a candidate who switches parties to pay back with interest any contributions collected before the party switch.

"We need to clean up the culture in Lansing because it's toxic, and we are thwarted from working to the benefit of the everyday people who sent us here," said Hobbs. "We owe it to senior citizens, students, and middle-class families who have taken a back seat and are at the center of the attack from special interests and the Republican Party in Lansing over the past two years."

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