Senator Wes Hayes yesterday introduced three ethics reform bills aimed at closing campaign finance loopholes that have tainted our elections, and providing an unparalleled level of accountability and transparency.
Among the changes, the bills would:
– Create a constitutionally sound definition of committees whose major purpose is to influence elections, so that they can finally be reined in and not operate outside of the law. In the prior election, shadowy groups were able to form and operate with no oversight or disclosure.
– Require elected officials and those seeking office to disclose ALL sources of income, rather than only those tied directly to government.
– Clean up and clarify requirements related to paper filing of Statements of Economic Interest.
– Tighten conflict of interest laws to prohibit awarding of state contracts to a member or their family, if the member participated in the discussion.
– Prohibit leadership PACs.
– Remove all legislative ethics oversight from the House and Senate, and place all ethics oversight under the state Ethics Commission.
“The people served by government need to know that folks in Columbia are representing them, not the special interest,” Hayes said. “This bill will establish a higher level of transparency in state government, and get rid of loopholes that have allowed unregulated money to taint the electoral process.”