Create A Culture Of Ethics In Michigan s Government

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Create A Culture Of Ethics In Michigan s Government. Michigan s citizens are tired of the divisive political culture in Lansing. Lansing Midnight deals closed, door meetings lobbyists and special interest influence have stood in the way of long term. solutions As Governor I will ensure that government is open fair and accountable to the. citizens by making Michigan a national leader in transparency and ethics. Rick Snyder,Introduction, Citizens Want A Commitment to Open Honest And Ethical Government To Get Things Moving In Lansing. Citizens have the right to expect more from elected officials especially when the state needs critical thoughtful. solutions to help Michigan recover Making government more accessible and responsive to citizens and reducing the. influence of special interests, rests and lobbyists will increase efficiency and reduce barriers that impede progress in Lansing. There is a very strong linkage among disclosure requirements improved performance higher ethical behavior and. accountability, Michigan Spends Too Much On Politics Without Getting Resul. Results Year Lobbying Expenditures,2009 31 849 916.
Campaign and lobbying expenditures have steadily risen over the 2008 34 167 777. last decade while Michigan s economy and quality of life have 2007 32 153 832. declined The frustration from seeing the broken political process 2006 30 204 626. in Lansing is what prompted Rick to run to refuse to take 2005 29 633 289. contributions from Political Action Committees PACs and lobbyists. 2004 27 119 649,in his campaign for Governor,2003 26 609 024. 2002 23 295 129, n 2009 alone Michigan s state government spent approximately. 2001 23 777 305,400 000 to lobby itself while debating. bating major cuts to schools early,Table 1 Reported Michigan Lobbying Expenditures. prisoner release and disinvestment in higher education Citizens 2001 2009. are tired of paying taxes while Michigan s infrastructure crumbles. the environment is endangered and education is placed in jeopardy Lansing s leader leaderss routinely fire meaningless. political volleys at each other and remain unwilling to compromise because of ardent political battle lines drawn by. special interest groups It is time for Michigan to invest more in delivering outcomes and results than political. Background, The Influence Of Lansing Lobbyists Has Grown Over Time.
As term limits were adopted lobbyists quickly moved to assert their role in Lansing. Lansing Term limits allowed the state, legislature to rely on lobbyists to provide subject. subject matter, matter expertise on a wide array of subjects from individual policy. issues to parliamentary procedures for drafting introducing and passing legislation The political landscape by default. has created a situation where lobbyists gain a great deal of influence through professional and personal relationships. that can be well intentioned, intentioned but detrimental to clear open and accountable government without guidelines. guidelines, State Lobbying Down 2 3 Million in 2009 Michigan Campaign Finance Network MCFN. As career politicians reached the end of the terms a great number of them sought to further their career as lobbyists In. 2009 Michigan s Secretary of State reported 2 782 registered lobbyists and lobbyist agents in Michigan that s 18. lobbyists or lobbying agents per legislator a 26 increase since the first class of legislators were term limited from office. in 1998 2 Federal law prohibits Federal officeholders from lobbying former peers for a period of one year known as a. cooling off period Currently 25 states have cooling off periods of at least one year and six states require at least two. years before pursuing a career in lobbying 3 Michigan has failed to address this issue making the break from public. servant to high paid lobbyist less clear by allowing elected leaders to begin lobbying former staff and colleagues within a. day of leaving office, In Lansing lobbyists have become career political insiders who travel effortlessly between elected office government or.
legislative staff positions collecting huge pay offs to lobby for interest groups Governors come and go legislatures. come and go while lobbyists remain They have no loyalty to party to belief or ideology Without the right measures. in place their role behind the scenes in government can potentially corrupt the democratic process. Lobbyists have such a hold on Michigan that even government departments have to spend tax money on lobbyists to get. things done The Michigan Department of Treasury alone spent over 122 000 in 2009 making it 36th on the list of the. state s top 200 lobbyists 4 As a state Michigan spent approximately 400 000 in 2009 alone to lobby itself 5. Michigan laws also do not require lobbyists to report travel and accommodation expenses for public officials unless it. exceeds 725 financial transactions between lobbyists and officials must be reported only when they reach a threshold. of 1 100 meal and beverage expenditures are not reported unless they exceed 54 in a month or 350 in a year event. tickets and greens fees are permitted as long as they do not exceed 54 per month and gifts over 54 per month are. not allowed 6 Given the fact that annual lobbying figures have increased throughout most of the past decade. Michigan s citizens deserve improved disclosure to assess the extent and nature of how lobbyists influence public policy. A Lack Of Financial Disclosure Enhances Special Interests Influence Over Elected Officials. Michigan is one of three states Idaho and Vermont are the others without laws that require public officials to. disclose their personal finances 7 In recent years political spending has grown exponentially in 2006 alone over 120. million was spent in state elections including a record 70 million on Michigan s gubernatorial campaign alone 8. Expenditures on lobbying and donations to PACs also have been trending upwards with the exception of 2009 when. political fundraising began to feel the impacts of the recession. Costly campaigns and a lack of true financial disclosure create a perfect storm where citizens become disenfranchised. with politics because the public and the media are unable to follow who is trying to influence policy and for what. reasons Many people view the divisive culture in Lansing as underachieving and out of touch with reality because. citizens voices are not heard due to the influence of PACs and lobbyists This sentiment is further underscored by a. report from the Michigan Campaign Finance Network indicating that 72 of winning Michigan House campaigns. received more money from PACs than from individual donors 9. Michigan Lobby Registration Act Number of Lobbyists and Lobbyist Agents 1998 2009 State of MI SOS September 2009. A Case For Political Reform In Michigan Michigan Campaign Finance Network MCFN. Top 200 Michigan Lobbyists 2009 Michigan Campaign Finance Network MCFN. Top 200 Michigan Lobbyists 2009 Michigan Campaign Finance Network MCFN. The Michigan Lobby Registration Act 2010 Reporting Thresholds Fees and Penalties State of MI SOS December 2009. States of Disclosure The Center s 50 State Ranking of Standards For Legislators Center For Public Integrity 2009. A Case For Political Reform In Michigan Michigan Campaign Finance Network MCFN. Citizens Guide to Michigan Campaign Finance Michigan Campaign Finance Network 2008. Michigan s campaign finance system has glaring deficiencies that can be easily exploited to create an environment. where a limited number of well financed special interests could easily dominate the financial landscape of political. campaigns Michigan needs to take deliberate steps to prevent a statewide culture of corruption from developing. Infrequent reporting makes it extremely difficult to gauge who is influencing policy both during campaigns and years in. office During the campaign cycle candidates file pre and post election campaign finance reports for primary and. general elections During non election years elected officials are only required to post one campaign finance report. This impedes the public and the media from tracking any correlation between contributions and legislative actions until. long after the fact, This problem is exemplified by expensive robo call campaigns that have already gotten under way in Michigan s 2010. gubernatorial election Under the current system robo calls fall under an enormous campaign finance loophole. Michigan law does not require disclosure of political advertising unless the ad specifically calls for a vote for or against. the candidate This allows unregulated third party contributions to finance robo calls and masquerade them as issue. advertising without revealing the funding source leaving the door open for well financed interest groups to influence. the outcome of the election by providing voters with false and out of context accusations without fear of reprisal. Michigan s Campaign Finance Network reports that since 2000 there has been 45 million in unaccountable spending. for issue advertising in Michigan s most competitive state campaigns 10. The Perception Of Poor Ethical Policies Can Damage The Public s Trust And Confidence. The Center for Local State and Urban Policy CLOSUP issued a report in October 2009 that claims one in four citizens. seldom or almost never trust state government 11 To make matters worse the same report claimed that nearly half of. the local government officials polled responded the same way 12 Michigan must raise the bar of ethical behavior. Transparency has not been a priority and Lansing s Current. years of ineffective leadership have Rick s Proposed. Lobbying Policy Rule Political, caused citizens and local government Ethical Reforms. Environment, leaders to question the state s Reporting standards for travel Only if expenditure is Itemize every. trustworthiness and credibility In order accommodations and expenses over 725 expenditure and limit. for Michigan to overcome the perception for public officials to 600 a year. of a broken and dysfunctional Reporting financial transactions Only once the Report all financial. government the state needs to commit between lobbyists and public transaction reaches transactions. to strong ethics transparency in officials at certain thresholds 1 100. government functions and report Reporting meal and beverage Not reported unless Ban lobbyist. expenditures greater than sponsored meals and,performance measurements of state. 54 month or beverages greater, departments and programs to earn the 350 year than 10 25 month.
trust and respect of citizens again Gifts from lobbyists to elected Gifts cannot exceed Ban all Gifts. officials 54 month and are,The Remedy not reported. Frequency of reporting for Twice a year Quarterly,Strengthen Lobbying Laws To Prevent lobbyists. Undue Influence Mandatory Cooling Off Period None 2 years. one full session, Michigan s citizens expect fair and Table 2 Rick s proposed changes to current lobbying laws. transparent representation from their,government In recent years political. Citizens Guide to Michigan Campaign Finance Michigan Campaign Finance Network 2008. Michigan Public Policy Survey Center for Local State and Urban Policy CLOSUP October 2009. Michigan Public Policy Survey Center for Local State and Urban Policy CLOSUP October 2009. divisiveness has eroded confidence in state government while special interest groups helped the current administration. to select winners and losers in major policy decisions A comprehensive disclosure of Michigan s lobbyist activities will. reduce impediments to progress and keep the best interest of the public in mind Michigan needs to enact measures. similar to California where lobbyists are required to be certified by completing annual ethics training to earn. certification so they can clearly understand the rules and punishments 13 This should also apply to public officials. Michigan needs to ban all gifts from lobbyists including sporting event tickets greens fees and other things that are. currently allowed All travel and related expenses involving public officials should be itemized in quarterly lobbyist. Outgoing legislators and senior appointed administrative officials should have to wait for a two year cooling off period. before transitioning to a career in lobbying or lobbying related activity such as recruiting clients or participating in a. lobbying campaign, Increased Financial Disclosure Of Elected Leaders and Senior State Employees.
Michigan needs to reform campaign finance laws to close loopholes that exacerbate the cost of elections To meet the. standards currently practiced by the federal government and 47 other states Michigan also needs to improve personal. financial disclosure of elected and senior state appointed officials There are many efforts that the state should adopt. around campaign finance reform including, All committees candidate PAC party and ballot committees should be required to file quarterly campaign. finance reports every year, Contributions to PACs should be limited to 5 000 per year from any source. Any independent expenditure that is made subsequent to a committee s last required report before any. election should be reported within 48 hours and made available on line for citizens and journalists to monitor. Any independent expenditure sponsored by an individual should be reported within 48 hours and those that. concern candidates for State office should be reported to the Department of State. Michigan Spends Too Much On Politics Without Getting Resul Campaign and lobbying expenditures have steadily risen last decade while Michigan s economy and quality of life have declined The frustration from seeing the broken political process in Lansing is what prompted Rick to run to refuse to take contributions from Political Action Committees PACs in his campaign for Governor In 2009

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