New Video Highlights Need for Greater Access to Public Officials’ Financial Ties

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on
LinkedIn
+

BOSTON – Pioneer Institute believes restrictive laws regarding legislators’ and other elected officials’ Statements of Financial Interests damage the public trust. Pioneer created a new video, “Is Open Government a Priority in Your State?” to showcase its concerns and raise citizens’ awareness of these harmful laws.

Last year, Pioneer Institute released a new index rating the transparency and accessibility of each state’s Statements of Financial (or Economic) Interests (SFIs). SFIs are disclosures of sources of income that are necessary to ensure that policymakers work in the public interest, not their own interests.

The Massachusetts State Ethics Commission imposes onerous requirements on those seeking access to SFIs that can prohibit them from following through with requests.

Pioneer’s index reveals that, among states with procedures for reporting SFIs, Massachusetts has the lowest raw score (15 on a scale of 100). Ironically, states that commonly rank among the most politically corrupt in the country – like Illinois, Louisiana, and New York – have index scores of 90 or higher.

This video uses an imaginary example of a kickback scandal involving elected officials to compare the difficulty of obtaining SFI information in Massachusetts to the relative ease of accessing it in Mississippi.

Pioneer’s rating of states is based on seven underlying criteria: whether SFIs are available online, if the form is electronically searchable, whether reports are free for the public to access, if personal information is required for access, if an ID is required for access, whether the SFI filer is notified of each record request, and if the filer must submit records electronically.

With this new video, Pioneer hopes to inform the public about barriers to accessing Massachusetts elected officials’ financial information.

About Pioneer

Pioneer Institute is an independent, non-partisan, privately funded research organization that seeks to improve the quality of life in Massachusetts through civic discourse and intellectually rigorous, data-driven public policy solutions based on free market principles, individual liberty and responsibility, and the ideal of effective, limited and accountable government.

Get our MassWatch updates!

Related Posts:

COVID-19 Transparency – A Step Backwards

/
Massachusetts has unfortunately taken the backwards step of ending its longstanding daily reporting of something basic and important: the virus’s cumulative impact on various age groups.

Study: Shift from Highest-Priced Healthcare Providers Would Generate Tremendous Savings

Consumers in just one Massachusetts county could have saved nearly $22 million in a single year and $116.6 million adjusted for inflation over four years if they switched from using the most expensive providers for 16 shoppable healthcare services to those whose prices were closer to average, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

HHS COVID Funding Tracker

As of July, the Feds have distributed $86.7 billion to medical providers, of which $2.3 billion came to Massachusetts. Pioneer’s new HHS COVID-19 Funding app shows who and how much, from the $1 sent to American Current Care of Massachusetts, to the $418,034,675 sent to the MA Department of Public Health. We also break down the distribution by city or town.

Open Letter: COVID-19 Study and Recommendations Task Force Established Pursuant to Massachusetts Bill H.4672

Pioneer hopes the members of this important task force will be appointed as soon as possible and that they will look into recommendations to address Covid-19 among the aged and in the state’s nursing homes. Read our Open Letter.

New Pioneer Institute Hotline Allows Public to Report Violations of Open Meeting Law

/
With most public meetings taking place remotely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pioneer Institute has unveiled an online hotline that allows members of the public to report potential violations of the Commonwealth’s and other states' Open Meeting Law.

Pioneer Institute Looks Ahead to the Protection of Civil Liberties

Challenges to Americans’ civil liberties have increased in recent years.  History teaches us that during national emergencies governments are even more likely to overstep and violate constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. To address this concern, Pioneer Institute has created “Respect My Rights,” a web-based hotline to which citizens can submit complaints and descriptions of violations they have experienced.

National Study Finds Most States Lack Healthcare Price Transparency Laws

At a time when the coronavirus pandemic has caused massive shifts in state policies on telehealth and scope of practice in healthcare, a new Pioneer Institute study underscores that most of the 50 states continue to suffer from weak laws regarding price transparency.  The study identified states that have laws that require carriers, providers or both to provide personalized cost information to consumers before obtaining healthcare services.  Fully 33 states placed in the lowest of the three broad analytic tiers on the strength of their state healthcare transparency laws. 

Financial Disclosures - As Important Now as Ever

/
News sources report that certain senators sold stocks just before the market crashed when the economic impact of Coronavirus came to light. Now more than ever, financial disclosures must be accessible to the media and to the public.