Reps. Abed, Cochran Introduce Bills in Ethics, Accountability and Transparency Package

Bills demand open, honest and accountable government
Tuesday, March 12, 2013

LANSING - State Representatives Theresa Abed (D-Grand Ledge) and Tom Cochran (D-Mason) today announced that they are sponsoring legislation in a Democratic-sponsored package of ethics, accountability and transparency bills that call for an open, honest and accountable legislature.

“People deserve an honest, accountable and transparent election process and legislature and that is what my bills in this Democratic-sponsored package will create,” said Abed. “With strong regulation of independent expenditures and financial disclosures from appointed and elected officials, we can hold these people accountable and ensure that they are not just looking out for their own financial gain.”

Rep. Abed has two bills in the package. House Bill 4421 will prohibit corporations that contract with or receive grants, tax credits or tax incentives from the state of Michigan from making independent expenditures. A second bill that she will introduce would require personal financial disclosures from appointed and elected officials including the administrative, legislative and judicial branches and members of university boards. Rep. Cochran is the sponsor of HB 4422, which prohibits foreign-controlled corporations from making independent expenditures. His other bill, House Bill 4425, will add campaign quarterly finance filing requirements for committees in both non-election/odd numbered years and also in an election year.

“Foreign CEOs and corporations have no business trying to influence our elections, and my bill will see that they don’t,” said Cochran. “By cracking down on independent expenditures and campaign finance filing requirements, we are sending a message to candidates and their donors that you cannot buy an election here in Michigan, and you must be transparent about where your campaign contributions are coming from. Our bills are demanding open and honest elections.”

Other bills included in the package will:

  • Require a corporation that makes independent expenditures to file a notice with the Secretary of State and get permission from shareholders.
  • Ban elected officials from lobbying for two years after leaving office.
  • Create an ethics act for the administration and its employees to strengthen conflict-of-interest concerns for those individuals.
  • Create a lobbying expenditure database.
  • Require a candidate who switches parties to pay back with interest any contributions collected before the party switch.