Audio – Senator Keith Ingram Reporting News From 91st General Assembly
June 15th, 2018 • News

June 15, 2018

  • My family was in the concrete business for years. When the legislature considered changes in the corporate tax code, or spending bills for major construction projects, my family business was affected. My colleagues in the legislature have always been aware of my business interests.
  • The same holds true for legislators who are bankers and farmers, and those who work in insurance, or timber, or health care. We all know each other’s background. We all file statements of financial interest, so it’s a matter of record, and we’re all proud of our chosen careers and the businesses we work in.
  • However, it only takes a few bad apples to destroy the reputation of a legislative body. You may have seen news reports about elected officials who are under investigation because they tried to hide their financial connections to special interest lobbyists.
  • That’s why the Senate leadership is proposing a strong new code of ethics. The proposed Senate rules go further than state law in requiring senators to disclose more details about their financial interests. Those details are especially important if they work with companies that do business with state agencies. Senators would not be allowed to debate or vote on legislation that affects their business, unless they first disclose their financial interest.
  • As for myself, I will have no problem with publicly acknowledging all my business interests. What the new code of ethics will achieve is this – it will require a few legislators to publicly disclose their financial dealings with special interest lobbyists. Their dealings may be above-board, but even so the public has a right to know about them.
  • As the Senate Minority Leader, I support the proposed new code of ethics. When the full Senate is scheduled to vote on it early next week, it will initiate greater transparency in legislative affairs.
  • That’s good news for everyone who believes government officials should be accountable to the people who vote them into office. It should build momentum for further ethics reforms, such as my bill to restrict the flow of so-called “dark money,” which has such a negative influence in fair elections.
  •       Click to Listen - Audio Recording from June 15th, 2018