The Minnesota Campaign Finance Board voted today to come up with a plan that would tighten the state’s disclosure laws for public officials. The board’s action comes a day after MPR News reported that one in four lawmakers filed economic disclosure forms that provide little or no information about the income they earn outside the Legislature.
Board member Neil Peterson, a Republican who used to serve in the Minnesota House, said he believes the law needs to be changed so lawmakers and other public officials have to disclose more.
“I filled those out for 20 years and I have often looked at them and said ‘What am I doing with this? They aren’t saying anything,” Peterson told MPR News.
Campaign Finance Board staff will present the board with recommendations at next month’s meeting.
Minnesota Campaign Finance Board Executive Director Gary Goldsmith says he intends to present the board with a plan that would require public officials to disclose more.
“We look at our law as it stands and the experience that we and others have had being frustrated with the fact that a lot of income that’s being earned at there isn’t disclosed and it’s primarily related to independent contractor or small corporation income where you list the corporation instead of your clients as the source of your income.”
Goldsmith says the board may also consider requiring public officials to update the forms more than once a year if their jobs change.
The Legislature would need to approve the recommendations – something DFL legislative leaders say needs to be done.