Saturday, June 4, 2011

Policy item "tucked away in massive state budget"


Bill would make it harder to see if state officials have conflicts of interest. (Wisconsin State Journal, 6/3/2011)

Excerpt:   The measure was sponsored by Vos and the other five GOP Assembly members of the joint committee and is part of the Legislature's budget bill, which now goes to the Senate and Assembly for passage.

Vos, who owns businesses including a popcorn distribution company, defended the measure through his aide, Kit Beyer.

Beyer said the measure is meant to discourage those who merely want to snoop on officials' private lives or steal their business clients while continuing to make the statements available to "people who want to have it for a true reason rather than people just fishing around."

The statements themselves are not online. Currently, members of the public can request an official's statement be sent to them electronically or in the mail for 25 cents a page. The measure would require requesters to go to 212 E. Washington Ave. to review or copy the forms. All officials whose forms are requested are notified of the request and who made it.

The Government Accountability Board also publishes an online index that allows the public to search for all state officials who own stock in a specific company. But Ahmuty said the measure approved by the legislative budget committee likely would prohibit the GAB from providing that online search service.

Members of the Legislature, judges, top agency officials and members of state boards and commissions are required to fill out the statements.

Officials must disclose employers, investments, business activities, clients, business partners, real-estate holdings, creditors and other financial information for themselves and their immediate family members.

No comments: