SB 619 Far Too Secretive

Senate Bill 619, creating a State Ethics Commission, is far too secretive and non-transparent. 

Any commission created to hold our elected officials to high ethical standards can only be effective if its proceedings are as open as possible. 

This bill is deficient in several areas: 

It starts from the presumption that all Commission meetings and hearings related to ethics complaints will be conducted in secret.

It requires that nearly all documents related to an ethics complaint, including the complaints themselves, will be hidden from the public.

It imposes harsher fines on a complainant speaking publicly about the complaint than on the elected official accused of misconduct.

And it requires that, just to initiate the process, the complainant must sign away his or her First Amendment rights.

There is no good explanation for why an ethics body needs such extraordinary secrecy privileges, and such secrecy undermines the confidence of the public in the process.  Furthermore, the penalties and the overall lack of transparency of this proposed commission may discourage people from filing complaints with the commission. 

To see the bill click here