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State Senate leader pushes back on Secretary of State's call for increased financial disclosure

pile of one dollar bills
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio
It costs a lot of money to go to college.

The leader of the state Senate Republicans says he’s not in favor of Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson's call for candidates to disclose their financial information.

Last month, Benson said she wants the Legislature to pass bills that would require elected officials to disclose any outside income, investments, travel or gifts they got as candidates or after they were elected.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) has the final say on which bills the chamber votes on. He said he’s not on board because it would create a big disincentive for people considering running for office.

“With term limits and all the other things that don’t go with the job now, that makes it hard to even recruit good people in many cases; I don’t think this adds any value,” Shirkey said.

Over in the House, Gideon D’Assandro, a spokesman for Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering), said Chatfield is, “Open to it in concept. Open to the idea of greater transparency in all sorts of different forms. But at this point, (he) hasn’t seen a specific proposal he’s been able to go through yet.”

Benson responded to Shirkey’s comments in a statement.

“For Michiganders to have confidence that their elected leaders are acting in their best interests, residents must know who, if anyone, may be influencing decisions behind closed doors,” she said. “Any aspiring public servant should be willing to adhere to basic expectations of transparency and accountability.”

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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