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State Senate committee to take up set of transparency bills, SOS says they don’t go far enough

 Michigan Capitol building in Lansing, including a tree.
Emma Winowiecki
Michigan Radio
The Michigan Capitol building in Lansing.

A state Senate committee will take up a bipartisan set of government transparency bills Tuesday. But Michigan’s top elections official says the bills don’t go far enough.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson oversees the state’s financial disclosure laws. She says bills to require more disclosure by state lawmakers and the governor’s office are better than the status quo. But she says “dark money” donations should be banned, and lawmakers should have to report outside sources of income.“They ensure that we know not only what our leaders say they are doing, but what they are actually doing,” Benson said in an online news conference. “Transparency requirements also reveal potential conflicts of interest that could help guide us in holding our lawmakers accountable.”

Benson says the bills should also bar ex-lawmakers from working as paid lobbyists for at least two years after they leave office.

Benson’s priorities also include:

  • Require former lawmakers employed as legislative “consultants” to register as lobbyists;
  • Ban donations from business PACs and company shareholders with controlling interest from qualifying for state contracts.

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Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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