Reps. Schmidt and Dillon Join Colleagues to Unveil Ethics and Campaign Finance Reform Package

Bills call for greater transparency and accountability from lawmakers and state officers
Thursday, February 2, 2012

LANSING - State Representative Roy Schmidt (D-Grand Rapids) and State Representative Brandon Dillon (D-Grand Rapids) today joined their House Democratic colleagues to announce the introduction of their campaign finance reform package to close the revolving door between the public and the private sectors and to provide citizens with greater transparency and accountability from elected and appointed officials.

“Good government is open and responsive to the people it serves and that’s the goal of these bills that my Democratic colleagues and I are introducing today,” said Schmidt. “Our package is the answer to the governor’s call, in his State of the State Address, for open and transparent government. I hope to see our ethics and reform package, which includes my bill creating an ethics act for the administrative branch and its employees, debated and signed into law this year.”

“Michigan residents foot the bill for their state government and our legislation holds state officials accountable for their actions,” said Dillon. “These are common sense reforms, like my bill that would require corporations to give shareholders 30 days advance notice of any spending including expenditures on lobbying or campaigns. The governor and majority legislators have been calling for transparency, so I look forward to their support of these bills that will give us the open government that we all want.”

The package contains 16 bills and one constitutional amendment and looks to address corporate accountability, campaign finance and ethics reform. Among other things, the House Democrats’ package of bills would:

  • Create a two year “cooling off” period for elected officials and a one year period for department directors who attempt to move directly into lobbying to close the revolving door between public and private work.
  • Require personal financial disclosure from appointed and elected officials. Michigan is one of only three states with no financial disclosure requirements.
  • Strengthen conflict of interest provisions for legislators, prohibit state elected officials from applying for or accepting state grants, and make it illegal for individuals to solicit or accept campaign contributions while in a state facility.
  • Toughen campaign finance disclosure and corporate accountability after the U.S. Supreme Court lifted limits on corporate spending in campaigns and prevent state contractors, companies that accept federal bail-out money, and foreign-controlled corporations from spending money in Michigan elections.
  • Increase transparency by forcing corporations making expenditures in campaigns or for lobbying purposes to comply with the law and publically disclose funders.
  • Eliminate “Pay to Play” politics by banning the state from awarding any contract over $100,000 to a contractor or vendor who made campaign contributions to elected officials.
  • Require “robo-calls” to clearly state the name and address of the organization paying for them.