By Dave Dahl
SPRINGFIELD - Another move to make politics and government “more transparent” has surfaced at the state Capitol.
Candidates, officeholders, and many top government employees must complete a Statement of Economic Interest, but a complaint is that it states too little.
“The questions are so poorly worded that at honest answer on most of these questions is ‘not applicable,’” Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon said Thursday at a news conference in the Capitol to propose changes.
She says the proposed changes would ask for more specific items, such as outside income over a certain amount. “There are some pretty bright lines. It makes it easy for the person filling out the form to provide that information,” she said.
State Sen. Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge) is sponsoring a bill which would overhaul the form, which Simon says is more than 40 years old. He says the information that must be on the form is different from what is on an income tax form, which only some candidates release.
“The challenge is getting access to this information and sifting through tax returns,” said Kotowski. “What’s really key about this legislation is the right questions are being asked, so taxpayers are protected, and state government is secure, and we avoid any potential conflicts of interest.”