Bill that toughens economic disclosure rules is on ice for the year

Supporters of a bill that would require public officials in Minnesota to disclose more about their sources of income will have to wait another year.

House Elections Committee Chair Steve Simon, DFL-Hopkins, initially said he wanted to pass something this year, but now he says he’s not holding a hearing on the bill because he thinks it needs more work.

“I am committed to doing something and doing something significant,” Simon said. “I would have liked to have done it this year but it became clear that a lot of stakeholders and a lot of public groups want to weigh in on this.”

DFL leaders said at the start of session that they wanted to increase the disclosure rules for constitutional officers, members of the Legislature and other public officials. The Minnesota Campaign Finance Board also recommended the Legislature tighten the requirements to include compensation from clients and any income earned by spouses and children.

An investigation by MPR News found that in many cases the disclosure forms filed by elected officials provided little if any meaningful information about the sources of their outside income and potential conflicts of interest.