Political Transparency: Strong Disclosure Laws Help Keep Elected Officials Accountable

The past year has seen no shortage of political scandals involving state officials. Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard was convicted on 12 felony counts connected to using his office for personal gain. New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos were convicted on corruption charges. Five Pennsylvania state representatives were convicted on bribery, corruption, extortion and conflict-of-interest charges. And Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox pleaded guilty to wire fraud, bribery and filing a false tax return.

Scandals like these are troubling in both their substance and frequency and have contributed to historically low levels of trust in government. Corruption cases involving public officials leave citizens with the distinct impression that their voices matter less than those of the wealthy. Continue…