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Minnesota House approves measure increasing disclosure of officials' potential conflicts

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: April 25, 2014 - 2:44 PM

Minnesota House lawmakers on Friday decided they should tell you a bit more about themselves.

On a 76-48 vote, the House approved a measure to require lawmakers and other public officials to publicly reveal their areas of business interest and information about their consulting contracts.

Adding teeth to the disclosure, the House moved to require the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board to audit those disclosures and power investigate any problems.

Minnesota has long lagged behind other states in what they require public officials to release about their financial interests.While the state does require some financial disclosure, the forms officials file often reveal little that would allow members of the public to assess potential conflicts.

"This bill is a step toward greater transparency and will give the public more confidence in our public officials," said bill sponsor Rep. Laurie Halverson, DFL-Eagan.

The measure would also require public officials to disclose it if their spouse's or "co-dependent's" financial interests present a conflict.

That's less stringent than what some states require. Many states have long mandated that spouses reveal similar financial information as elected officials have to reveal and some also require disclosure of information about the interests of other family members.

Earlier this year, a Senate panel looked at requiring spousal disclosure.

Here's the roll call on the House measure:

HF1961passage Rotated 2 by Rachel E. Stassen-Berger

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