On my radio show yesterday I had on state Rep. Corey Mock who, earlier this month, was elected as Minorityh Leader for his party’s caucus in the Legislature.
I had him on to talk about transparency legislation. Mock has made transparency and ethics a priority during his legislative career and while I think some of his proposals are misguided – his proposals for an ethics committee would create a venue for partisan witch hunts not accountability – many of his calls for enhanced transparency are sound.
One thing we discussed was financial disclosures for elected official. Today our political leaders – including lawmakers, those elected to the executive branch, and the Governor’s appointments – must file a disclosure of their financial interests for each of their terms.
The problem, Mock points out, is that these disclosures aren’t filed very often – for lawmaker once a term means once every four years – nor are they published online in a central location where voters can find them. A public record isn’t all that public when it’s difficult for the public to access. Mock wants to make that access easier.
That would be a good thing. North Dakotans like their part-time Legislature, and they like putting business leaders in elected office. But with those things come conflict between public policy and private interests. The answer to that problem is transparency. Let the public see the connections and they can decide for themselves what’s kosher and what isn’t.
We also chatted about his political party’s future. I asked Mock if Democrats would be doing anything differently after yet another election cycle in which they got a shellacking from voters.
Mock said the Democrats are sticking to their guns.
“I don’t think anyone’s attitude should change,” Mock told me.
I guess we’ll see how that works out for them.