Thursday, October 05, 2006

DeVos- no disclosure law needed

Of course not. Why should government officials have to tell of their investments and business dealings? We can trust them not to steer legislation and/or state contracts for the benefit of their campaign contributors and lobbyists! They wouldn't use the power of government to personally profit themselves or their friends and family!

Don't be silly.

Republican candidate for governor Dick DeVos is being slammed by Democrats for not making a complete disclosure of his considerable finances -- including an investment in a chain of problem-racked assisted living homes.

But the fact is, DeVos isn't required to report anything. Michigan is one of only three states -- along with Vermont and Idaho -- with no financial disclosure law.

The 47 other states and the federal government require legislators and members of Congress to report personal financial information so voters can judge whether public officials are using their offices for personal gain.

The vast majority of states also requires governors to report, and many set the same standards for gubernatorial candidates, according to the Washington, D.C.-based watchdog group Center for Public Integrity.

Granholm has called for disclosure laws, and a bill has been introduced in Lansing. But- ta da!- our Republican legislature didn't act on it. Wonder why?

It remains to be seen whether the current flap over DeVos' finances drives a change in Michigan law.

State Rep. Steven Tobocman, D-Detroit, who has introduced a bill to require personal financial disclosure, thinks it should.

"It's outlandish that we have no requirements. It's obvious the public wants and deserves financial disclosure," Tobocman said.

His bill would require revealing sources of income, holdings and debts. He said he would be happy if the bill followed the congressional model requiring members of Congress to list those items in a dollar range.

Common Cause says that the disclosure statement that DeVos released wouldn't pass most state laws.

In March, DeVos released an eight-page disclosure statement that listed current investments and sources of income as well as charitable contributions dating back eight years. His document included no dollar figures, meaning it would not comply with requirements in most states, said John Chamberlin, chairman of Common Cause-Michigan, a nonpartisan political ethics watchdog.

"His disclosure is better than nothing. But it falls short of what states with disclosure laws would require," Chamberlin said.

Dating back 8 years. But Dick didn't feel the need to tell us about Alterra.

If it were left up to Dick, he wouldn't have to tell us about anything.

Granholm supports the Tobocman bill; John Truscott, spokesman for the DeVos camp, said DeVos doesn't feel a law is needed.

Much easier to raid the treasury if no one knows you are going to personally profit from it.

EDIT: From the comments- Nirmal has an excellent post on how both DeVos and Anuzis have lied to the public on the statements from Common Cause. Go read.