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Md. Senate Bill Proposes Posting Financial & Conflict Of Interest Disclosures On The Internet

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Pat Warren joined the Eyewitness News team in 1992. Pat came to WJZ...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)– The Maryland Senate tackles ethics questions with a proposal for more transparency.

Political reporter Pat Warren explains a bill would make financial and conflict of interest disclosures open to all on the Internet.

The name Ulysses Currie might have been erased from the Senate roster this year for ethics violations. Last month, the body chose instead to censure Currie for failing to disclose he was being paid to open doors to state agencies for Shoppers Food Warehouse.

Sen. Rob Garagiola has been questioned by a political opponent about financial disclosure. Now, a Senate committee is considering bills to clarify and make the disclosure process more transparent.

“Because right now we’re sort of flying by the seat of our pants every time an issue comes up,” Senate President Mike Miller said.

Maryland is considered by some as a model for ethics laws compared to other states, but there’s a bill to improve on that.

“We will put all of our financial and ethics material online. And so it will be available by Internet beginning in 2013 for all the members of Maryland General Assembly, for the governor, the lieutenant governor, the constitutional officers,” Sen. Jamie Raskin, a member of the Legislative Ethics Committee, said.

While the General Assembly has no obligation to pass every ethics proposal, the general consensus is that it is better to err on the side of caution.

If the bill passes, all high-ranking state government officials would have their disclosures on the Internet by 2015.

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