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Democrats: candidates for statewide office should have to make financial disclosures


Michigan is one of only two states in the nation that does not require candidates for statewide office to file financial disclosures, according to state Rep.Yousef Rabhi, D-Ann Arbor.

Rabhi is one of 31 Democrats in the State House to voluntarily submit the documentation, in a show of support for bills spearheaded by Rep. David LaGrand, D-Grand Rapids.

Rabhi says voters deserve more transparency in government.

"Let's say you own a liquor store and then you have to vote on a bill that has to do with liquor stores, or let's say you're a lawyer, and you have to vote on a bill that has to do with lawyers -- it's important that the public understands that there's that conflict of interest," says Rabhi.

Rabhi is one of five sponsors of bills that would require the financial disclosures from candidates running for statewide office, such as governor or attorney general, as well as candidates running for the state legislature.

He says the bills have little chance of getting a committee hearing in the Republican-controlled legislature.

LaGrand says the bills are not partisan, and he hopes some Republicans will support the bills, as well as voluntarily file financial disclosures.

He says a recent Pew Center poll finds three-quarters of voters think politicians serve their own interests, rather than the voters, and more transparency would help to begin turning the tide of voter distrust.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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