Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Campbell: ‘Ethics reform should be a priority, not a political catch phrase’



Campbell: ‘Ethics reform should be a priority, not a political catch phrase’

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix (District 24), said he is skeptical of any ethics reform calls from Republicans at the Arizona Legislature.

“We’ve had two years to work on ethics reform since the results of the Fiesta Bowl investigation became public,” Campbell said. “Democrats have been introducing legislation based on the recommendations of that report since then. Now, at the end of this legislative session, accountability becomes a part of the Republican agenda? Ethics reform should be a priority, not a political catch phrase. Most of the bills Democrats have introduced to fix the ethics issues outlined in the Fiesta Bowl report haven’t even been heard in committee.”

In the current legislative session, Campbell introduced HB 2256 to correct the concerns raised by Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery following his investigation into the Fiesta Bowl scandal. Montgomery identified several problems with the laws regulating lobbyists and financial disclosure for public officials. Campbell’s bill sought to fix those problems and to provide more accountability and transparency to the public as well as to diminish the influence of lobbyists.

This bill includes reforms that make it a criminal offense to recklessly file false financial disclosure forms and closes all of the lobbyist gift ban loopholes. In the 2012 legislative session, Campbell introduced the same provisions in HB 2704.

“Many Republicans at the Legislature have shown a lack of interest in efforts to increase accountability and transparency. Most of their attempts have not gone far enough to deal with the real issues, and even those weak attempts have gotten little traction,” Campbell said. “If they are just jumping on the bandwagon or committing to substantive reform now because of the recent increased media attention, then it’s obviously insincere or political posturing.”

A news report regarding the Republican-led Legislature’s unwillingness to address ethics reform recently aired on KTVK-3TV. To see the report, go to http://www.azfamily.com/video/featured-videos/Monday-night-at-9-Gifts-for-lawmakers-206050641.html.
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